Hydraulic Fracking Essay

15746 Words Oct 11th, 2012 63 Pages
Hydraulic Fracturing
(“Fracking”)

LAS 432 – Technology, Society, and Culture
Team B
Michael Griffin
Mark Hartwick
Alena Hutson
Kansas Gentry
Kevin Gracia

Professor Douglas McCoy
8/24/12

Contents
Thesis…………………………………………………………………………………Page 3
Abstract……………………………………………………………………………….Page 3
Hydraulic Fracturing Description…………………………………………………….Page 4
History of Fracking.....................……………………………………………………..Page 5
Cultural Context………………………………………………………………………Page 8
Pros……………………………………………………………………………………Page 8
Cons…………………………………………………………………………………..Page 11
Context Summary…………………………………………………………………….Page 16
Media Influence………………………………………………………………………Page 17
Fracking Fluids……………………………………………………………………….Page 18
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History of Fracking
Hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” is a process that fractures rock formations in the earth’s surface in order to release hydrocarbons. When these hydrocarbons are released, they flow more freely through the rocks and up to the wellbore, were oil and gas are extracted to (Suchy, 2012). Not all rock formations require a hydraulic fracturing operation to be done because the fluids move freely through rocks that have been naturally fractured. Shale gas reservoirs on the other hand are not permeable and have very few natural fractures; therefore the trapped gas and oil must be extracted by fracking only. Some of the earliest “fracking” techniques can be traced back as early as the 1860’s (Carlson, 2011). These early techniques, used primarily in oil wells, used liquid nitroglycerin as a stimulant to break up shallow, hard rock wells that were located Pennsylvania, New York, Kentucky, and West Virginia. The use of nitroglycerin was extremely hazardous and often deemed illegal in many states; however, this “shooting” process was very successful. “Shooting” is a term used for injecting the nitroglycerin into the well to produce rubbished rock to increase both initial flow and the recovery of oil (Montgomery, 2010). Because of the success on oil wells, the similar principles were applied to gas and water wells. In the 1930’s well engineers began to look for something that was not
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