Fracking for oil: How does it work?

In the last few months, with the continuous demand for new energy sources, and with the increasing attention for the so-called Marcellus Shale, oil companies are sparking up conversations for new sources of employment by means of fracking for oil. The concept of fracking or more appropriately, hydraulic fracturing, is the process of initializing and furthering fractures on rock formations underground, with the help of a pressurized liquid. The process helps in releasing energy sources such as petroleum and natural gas as well as other gases for extraction.

Fracking for oil is done on either natural fractures on rocks or the fractures can be made by carefully drilling through the stone surface, causing a crack where the natural gases can be exposed. Once the crack has been found or created, it is extended by means of the internal fluid pressure and it allows the crack to run down to the other end of the rock. There are fractures such as the once on ice, sills and igneous dikes. For the man made ones, a hole is created and the fractures created within the depths and are extended. Once the injection has been made, a proppant is used to maintain the width of the crack formation. This is a material like sand or other particulate forms that allow the closure to remain open even after the injection of the hydraulic fluid.

In the US, the discussion of fracking for oil is a continuous topic. The aim of hydraulic fracturing is to improve or even restore the rate where the fluids like water and oil as well as natural gases can be formed in natural reservoirs as well as the recently popular coal bed and shale rock reservoirs. By hydraulic fracturing, oil and natural gas can be produced from rock formations that are underneath the surface of the earth. The depth where these resources could be lurking do not have any permeable areas where it can naturally flow up. By creating conductive fractures, it is possible to extract natural gas from shale which has very low rate of permeability.

Fracking for oil starts by driving liquids into a wellbore with pressure that is capable to create a considerable crack on the rock. This allows the fluid to go even deeper into the formation, and then sand is placed together with the fluid. That section with proppant and fluids will be a highly permeable conduit and the fluids or gases can flow smoothly through the well.

The fracturing method is applicable in reservoirs where conventional extraction method are not possible. These are areas were the source of energy resource is too deep or does not have any natural openings to seep through. This is a multi stage methodology and requires a lot of careful planning in order to be implemented properly. Nonetheless, this method is considered more cost effective and most oil and natural gas industries are utilizing these methods for their own advantages. With the popularity and prevalence of the Marcellus Shale, the topic on implementing hydraulic fracturing will continue on.

Source by Paul Mike John


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