Archive for Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Method of finding oil raising concerns

September 7, 2011


— A method of prying more oil from rock layers, called hydraulic fracturing — or fracking — is fueling controversy in Kansas, with opponents saying it could threaten the water quality of the Ogallala Aquifer and supporters arguing that it has been used for years without any evidence that it pollutes water.

The method involves drilling deeply into the rock and then injecting water filled with chemicals to open seams in the rock. It has been used for up to 60 years but is attracting new attention because of increased use in northwest Kansas, where analysts expect to find shale associated with oil deposits.

More fracking activity also is reported in the south-central portion of the state, particularly in the Oklahoma border counties of Harper and Barber, The Topeka Capital-Journal reported.

The Sierra Club of Kansas contends the process uses unhealthy chemicals, requires heavy consumption of water and could contaminate water supplies.

Critics are particularly concerned about possible damage to the Ogallala Aquifer, the underground reservoir that provides water for much of western Kansas.

The process, which started in Kansas in 1947, involves drilling deep vertically and horizontally before injecting with tremendous pressure water with a chemical brew to open seams in the rock to free oil and gas. The mixture can include compressed gases, including nitrogen, as well as acid. Sand or ceramic material is then moved into fluid-driven channels.

In Kansas, it involves drilling about 4,000 feet below the surface and nearly that distance horizontally to reach reserves. The approach requires multiple layers of pipe and cement to encase well bores, which shield groundwater at shallow depths. The Ogallala runs 500 to 1,000 feet deep in Kansas.


Kim Murphree 5 years ago

We need to pay attention to this...fracking is NOT negatively affects the water table...there have been much publicized reports of people in rural areas being able to LIGHT THE WATER ON FIRE that comes out of the water faucet after fracking has occurred nearby.. the chemicals they use are matter what the industry says or how they spin "energy exploration"--have you heard the new pro oil and gas ads in Kansas yet?--this is the same terrible problem citizens are fighting in Pennsylvania...and even in Arkansas, the practice of fracking was causing instability in the rock below actually--the question became was fracking causing more shallow earthquakes in the region.... Gas prices are way too high-- oil companies are sitting on their friends its TIME to push hard for alternative forms of energy and infrastructure to support it before the oil and gas companies destroy our water supply, and the rest of our environment...I think its very telling that families best known for their ties to oil companies are now buying up water rights in South America. Water... water that we can drink...that supply is the critical issue here...we can live without oil.. we should NOT take chances on contaminating our supply of water in favor of more oil and gas exploration...we cannot live without water...not much can.

pace 5 years ago

Oh good, you say there is nothing to worry about. You claim anyone who has doubts don't know what they are talking about. Well, some don't think you are correct. I am pretty sure you are wrong. There are some problems with fracturing, To claim there are no problems with the physical process of deep drilling with injection of chemicals is optimistic at best and stupid at worst.

Scott Drummond 5 years ago

I agree with your assessment. If only there were a way that we as citizens could band together to protect ourselves from those who would lie and deceive in order to enrich themselves. Oh wait, we have the government that some are busy dismantling. Funny that the private interests of so many who proclaim a small and limited government are so enriched at the expense of others. These same beings, of course, are also frequent whiners about people who leech off of public funds. Guess they don't like the competition.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years ago

The fact is that the side effects of the process haven't been well studied up to now, but what few studies that have recently been undertaken show is that the benign nature of the process is extremely exaggerated.

pace 5 years ago

LOL well if you look up a couple of comments, at your own comment, there it is, last line "Actually you don't know what you are talking about." .Having a little short term memory loss? Or is that your debate style of choice?

Ron Holzwarth 5 years ago

"Could you paint that picture for me?"

I'll explain it to you.

There are only a few things that can be done with crude oil that cannot be done with natural gas. For fueling automobiles and heating homes, natural gas is ideal. It can be used to power trains also, but that is stretching it just a bit. Diesel is actually better for that, but a train could be run on natural gas.

One of the big things that natural gas cannot be used for very well is to produce plastics and pharmaceuticals.

The United States has a whole lot of natural gas. In fact, some refer to the United States as the Saudi Arabia of natural gas. We have an almost incomprehensible amount of it. And it's not that tough to extract.

(Do not take the rest of this posting very seriously!)

If you read the fine print of the United States government policy, you'll find something very interesting. But, this fine print is so fine you will need a very powerful microscope to read it:

"First we'll burn up all the crude oil from the Middle East. Then when they run dry, we'll start to use our own mineral reserves. We have some crude oil, and enough natural gas to last for centuries."

Ron Holzwarth 5 years ago

Oh good grief. I wrote "one" when I should have written "two".

TheOriginalCA 5 years ago

You have to understand that "Oil" is a four letter word in the minds of the Sierra Club and militant environmentalists. Oil = money and profit and that is not allowed today.

Flap Doodle 5 years ago

Oh, do let us freeze in the dark. It will be such jolly fun.

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