"Rather than expand government, public policy should end preferential subsidies for politically favored energies and privatize such assets as public-land resources and the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. Multibillion-dollar energy programs at the U.S. Department of Energy should be eliminated. Such policy reform can simultaneously increase energy supply, improve energy security, reduce energy...
3. How much water is used, and what composes the chemical solution used in the process?Submitted by MikeChalberg on Mon, 2012-04-30 16:27
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The amount of fresh water used in this process is dependent on the depth of the natural gas reservoir and the structure of the rock. In general, far more water is used when drilling into shale as opposed to coal beds. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that fracking a coal bed uses between 50,000 and 250,000 gallons of water. Meanwhile, to successfully frack a shale formation, 1-8 million gallons are needed. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, fracking wells use an average of 2-4 million gallons. A single well can be fracked over a dozen times.
This massive amount of water is combined with multiple chemicals before being injected into the rock. Depending on the conditions of the shale which is being fractured, anywhere from three to twelve chemicals might be added to water in order to make the necessary solution. There are several reasons that these chemicals are added to the water. Often referred to as slickwater, the solution's most important fundtion is to reduce the friction along the fissure in the rock. Biocides are added to prevent contamination of the materials by microorganisms. Several acids are also contained in the solution, which are either for protection of the piping or waste from the wellbore near the surface. These chemicals usually make up 0.5% to 2% of the solution. Below is a look at the chemical composition of one fracking procedure in Arkansas, followed by a chart describing the most common chemicals used in the process.
Here is one more chart looking at fracking additives, created by Exxon Mobil. Coined "fluid disclosure," the federal government recently began to require each gas company to reveal all chemicals used at each drilling location. Prior to this, despite scientists finding volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in fracking wells, there was no requirement for the gas companies to disclose the chemicals which were being used.
On top of the chemical additives, the fracking process also releases naturally occurring chemicals in the rock, including the radioactive elements, barium and strontium, as well as benzene, a powerful carcinogen, though generally only in trace amounts.