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THE Shale Gas Thread Pt 2 (merged)

General discussions of the systemic, societal and civilisational effects of depletion.

Re: NO SOUP FOR YOU…OR SHALE GAS!

Unread postby TheAntiDoomer » Sun 12 May 2013, 22:08:53

Fact is Rockmans headline was silly and over the top, the fact is all the article is saying is that the shale gas revolution will come to other counties it will just take a little more time, so YEs other countries, shale gas for you!!
"The human ability to innovate out of a jam is profound.That’s why Darwin will always be right, and Malthus will always be wrong.” -K.R. Sridhar


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Re: NO SOUP FOR YOU…OR SHALE GAS!

Unread postby ROCKMAN » Mon 13 May 2013, 05:23:06

You finally just get that, zippy? How about the fact that this guy makes a living depending on folks not producing their own NG?
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Re: NO SOUP FOR YOU…OR SHALE GAS!

Unread postby rockdoc123 » Mon 13 May 2013, 11:58:00

Nothing to debate folks. Everyone is free to classify them however they want…it’s a free country. But I and the rest of the oil patch will classify them as damn good unconventional reservoir completions that spent the later part of their lives as stripper wells.


A quick look at the Railroad commission site indicates that these wells were completed and produced from the upper Eagle ford Formation sandstone member, often referred to generally as Sub-Clarkesville or specifically as Bells member. The Railroad Commission on its Eagle ford page states that the first shale production didn't happen until 2008. The current horizontal drilling activity in the Eagle ford targets the "shales" in the Arcadia Park, Britton and Tarrant members, all of which have high clay and carbonate content.

You might classify these wells as "unconventional" because they produced from a relatively tight carbonate cemented sandstone but it is not shale production. This is similar to the confusion that many have with respect to the Bakken Middle member which is variably a siltstone to limestone and accounted for most of the early production from the Bakken prior to the incorporation of long reach horizontals and multi-stage fracs.
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THE Shale Gas Thread Pt 2 (merged)

Unread postby kuidaskassikaeb » Mon 12 Aug 2013, 12:03:05

[quote][/quote]
http://blog.shaleshockmedia.org/2013/07 ... marcellus/
this is kind of cool too.
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Re: THE Shale Gas Thread (merged)

Unread postby kuidaskassikaeb » Mon 12 Aug 2013, 12:16:26

I recommend talking to a reservoir engineer who can explain to you the general order of magnitude difference between vertical permeability and horizontal permeability, why that matters, and then you can decide for yourself whether or not Darcy's law is bullshit.

And if you don't understand the differential pressure REQUIREMENT for movement contained within Darcy's Law, I recommend you ask about that as well.


I of course do not mean that Darcy's law is bull shit. I follow the law, especially the laws of nature. It is the nature on an argument that just mentioning an obscure equation is an argument. Also since the whole idea of fracking is to break Darcy's law. Well, maybe it doesn't apply.

If the pressure in the frack zone is lowered successfully, it should be impossible for backflow to contaminate aquifers period. Even with the short circuit of a concrete failure. Water from the aquifer shoould be disappearing into the hole. Wells should be going dry. Although I actually agree with you that water and methane are different problems. It does seem to me that a water contamination should be much less likely. What I don't like is that the data seems to indicate that it is happening on occasion, as shown by the Arsenic study yesterday, and the orange stuff from Dimrock.
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Re: THE Shale Gas Thread (merged)

Unread postby rockdoc123 » Mon 12 Aug 2013, 14:03:29

K

This is what you said

As I understand it about a third of fracking wells are dry holes, because there isn't any cap rock, in other words it leaked out.


And in support of that statement you link to a map that shows Marcellus performance and none of the wells shown are actually dry …..they show a range 0 – 2 MMcf/d and although a low rate of initial gas may prove to have an uneconomic EUR it is not pointing to failure of the top seal. The logic for this argument is not there.
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Re: THE Shale Gas Thread (merged)

Unread postby ROCKMAN » Mon 12 Aug 2013, 14:19:27

k – Haven’t been able to follow the entire conversation. But note on your map that the red dotes are wells that tested between 0 and 2 mmcf/d. In reality there are very few if any “dry holes” in the trend. But there may be a high percentage that test a non-commercial flow rate of NG and are thus never produced.

Not sure about the cap rock portion of the conversation. Typically there’s no cap rock or top seal with respect to the fractured shale plays. All the NG that is produced from such formations is that which has been taped in the naturally occurring fractures. Those fracture don’t extend infinitely upward. Where they stop vertically is where that production ceases. The effective trapping mechanism is that the formation immediately overlying the shale reservoir doesn’t develop fractures. In fact, it’s been proven that most of the production from the Eagle Ford has come from the lower portion of the formation which is more brittle (thus more fracture prone) due to higher calcite concentrations than the upper portion of the EFS. In effect the upper EFS is trapping the lower EFS. But that’s really an incorrect statement: the productive lower EFS just don’t extend to a significant degree up into the upper EFS.

As far as Cabot goes other than the state saying Cabot caused the contamination your link doesn’t provide any evidence the Cabot wells caused the problem. Saying there was methane contamination in the water after Cabot drilled doesn’t prove the water wasn’t contaminated before they drilled. There are also many references sighting natural methane contamination long before any wells were ever drilled. Likewise regarding the arsenic et al contamination. Those are also naturally occurring. I’ve read about a number of areas in PA were the local water supply was condemned long before any drilling was conducted. Specifics vary from area to area. Where I’m drilling Texas at the moment water wells above 160’s are not considered fit for human consumption…just ag uses. All the households get their drilling water below 160’

And from the right wing Opinion page of the New York Times: http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/ ... risk/?_r=0

“On the Green blog, Rachel Nuwer nicely summarizes the findings of a new Duke University study finding signs that natural geological pathways link deep briny fluids thousands of feet beneath the surface in Pennsylvania gas country with some shallow zones tapped for drinking water.

The study should ease concerns that reports of briny water mixing with drinking water have anything to do with gas drilling, including the process of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, used to release gas from deep shale layers. The areas where water samples drawn from near-surface layers had traces of the natural contaminants from the deep shale layers showed no relationship to past or current gas drilling activity, the researchers reported.”

And another example which both sides of the debate can use to make their case. From Huffington:

PITTSBURGH — New research in Pennsylvania demonstrates that it's hard to nail down how often natural gas drilling is contaminating drinking water: One study found high levels of methane in some water wells within a half-mile of gas wells, while another found some serious methane pollution occurring naturally, far away from drilling. The findings represent a middle ground between critics of the drilling technique known as hydraulic fracturing who claim it causes widespread contamination, and an industry that suggests they are rare or nonexistent.

The contamination from drilling is "not an epidemic. It's a minority of cases," said Rob Jackson, a Duke University researcher and co-author of the study released Monday. But he added the team found that serious contamination from bubbly methane is "much more" prevalent in some water wells within 1 kilometer of gas drilling sites.

The Duke paper, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is an expansion of a 2011 study that attracted widespread attention for its finding that drilling was polluting some water wells with methane. The new study includes results from 141 northeastern Pennsylvania water wells. It found methane levels were an average of six times higher in the water wells closer to drilling sites, compared with those farther away. Ethane, another component of natural gas, was 23 times higher in the homes closer to drilling.

Jackson said the researchers believe that faulty drilling can cause methane pollution, but that natural causes can, too. Eighty percent of all the water wells they tested contained some level of methane, including many with no nearby drilling.

There was some good news, Jackson said: The Duke researchers haven't found any evidence that chemicals from hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, have contaminated water wells.
"We're not seeing the things that people are most afraid of," Jackson said, referring to the chemicals used in fracking.

The situation is complicated because Pennsylvania has many layers of oil, gas, and coal-bearing rock as well as natural faults. All those can enable gas to seep naturally into water wells, even in areas without drilling.

Fred Baldassare, who worked for the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection for 25 years, said the study doesn't present an accurate picture of the whole state because the Duke team went to areas where residents had complained about drilling contamination, rather than doing a random sample. Baldassare runs a research company called Eschelon Applied Geosciences.

The second water study was published online last week by the U.S. Geological Survey. It found that some Pennsylvania water wells in areas with no nearby drilling are naturally contaminated with high levels of methane. It also found that 85 percent of the samples had radon levels higher than federal safe limits. One well sample, taken at a hunting club, had such high natural methane levels, it could have been flammable, said hydrologist Ronald Sloto.

The USGS took samples from 20 wells in Sullivan County, in northeastern Pennsylvania, in order to establish a pre-drilling baseline for water quality. Sloto said his study and the Duke paper confirm that pre-drilling water testing is an absolute necessity for homeowners. "Once you have drilling you can't get a baseline, it's too late" to determine if drilling caused water problems or if they were already there naturally, Sloto said. Private water well quality and construction, as well as methane migration, is a longstanding public health issue in Pennsylvania, dating back decades.”

As I think I mentioned earlier getting a pre-drill analysis is the advice I gave every Yankee cousin that sought help from me. But we can go back and forth all day with he said…she said dueling articles. But at the end of the day I’m still looking for the details of the proof that an oil/NG well has caused problem with a water well. I’ve seen only one such case proven and it wasn’t due to a frac job. A company had their mud weight too high in the very shallow section of their well and damaged a nearby water well. No contamination per se but did damage the water well casing.

Again, I have no doubt there have been other instances of oil/NG drilling causing problems with local water supplies. As I keep saying despite best efforts sh*t happens. But I have yet to see anyone present any evidence of such problems on any significant scale. If this is as big a problem as many profess there should be hundreds of well documented examples. I’m still waiting to see even a handful.
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Re: THE Shale Gas Thread (merged)

Unread postby John_A » Mon 12 Aug 2013, 18:01:24

kuidaskassikaeb wrote:If the pressure in the frack zone is lowered successfully, it should be impossible for backflow to contaminate aquifers period. Even with the short circuit of a concrete failure.


Not quite. See, the short circuit of cement opens up a pathway to somewhere...that somewhere may be to yet a higher pressure formation...in which case nothing happens (or something flows the other way through the cement) or the pathway opens up WAY UP ABOVE somewhere, at a lower pressure, and suddenly the formation has an escape route. Call it a thief zone. An aquifer could potentially be just that, if the leak through the layers of steel and cement allowed a producing formation to get to it.

Of course, we aren't talking about fracking now but well design, and well design by law puts fresh water aquifers up top behind cement and steel. I should say, MORE cement and steel, so now we need multiple failures for something to get that far up top.


kuidaskassikaeb wrote:Water from the aquifer shoould be disappearing into the hole. Wells should be going dry. Although I actually agree with you that water and methane are different problems. It does seem to me that a water contamination should be much less likely. What I don't like is that the data seems to indicate that it is happening on occasion, as shown by the Arsenic study yesterday, and the orange stuff from Dimrock.


Orange stuff just happens to be exactly what mine runoff looks like on coal mine reclamation jobs. And methane in water has a much higher potential to come from those shallow coal mines than it ever does a frack job because...the entire point of oil and gas production is to take away the pressure driver from the formation fracked to anywhere else...Darcy's Law....
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Re: THE Shale Gas Thread (merged)

Unread postby ROCKMAN » Mon 12 Aug 2013, 20:52:24

k - I can't remember if I've made this point to you before but I do have a dog in the fight over shale frac'ng. A very big dog, in fact: I would be very pleased if they proved frac'ng always damaged fresh water aquifers and was banned everywhere including Texas. It also wouldn't hurt my feelings if the banned the import of all Canadian oil.

So yes...I have a strong prejudice on both matters. But that doesn't change what I understand about drilling, frac'ng and production.
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Re: THE Shale Gas Thread (merged)

Unread postby Newfie » Tue 13 Aug 2013, 07:16:38

Rocman,

My apologies if you addressed this before but could you please give me your reaction to this article. It has gotten some local attention.

http://www.minnpost.com/propublica/2013 ... king-sites
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Re: THE Shale Gas Thread (merged)

Unread postby ROCKMAN » Tue 13 Aug 2013, 09:40:58

Newbie - Sounds like good study. Read thru and you find that they've found no direct proof that the higher concentration of heavy metals were caused by frac'ng. They point out the toxins occur naturally and that they found high concentrations in areas with no frac'ng and normal levels in areas with a lot of frac'ng activity. They actually offer that high concentrations may not be directly from frac fluids but that drilling activities might 'loosen up' arsenic that has accumulated naturally.

Again, back to the basic question: how likely is it for frac fluids from the actually frac'ng operation to leak out of that particular well? Certainly possible due to a bad cement job or a casing rupture. Not sure of the regs in PA but it Texas and La. such incidences are know via our mandatory certification process. But such situations are very rare and could cause widespread contamination problems.

OTOH improper/illegal dumping of frac fluids would be a much more likely source. And I have seen such activity in Texas and with no exceptions those buttholes dump far away from their wells. Which makes sense if you think about it. You've probably seen some of my posts about discovery of illegal dumping in PA once the stopped focusing on the well sites and started tracking fluids that were hauled away.

Despite what many think all arsenic is naturally occurring. The manmade problems develop from improper disposal from concentrated solutions from any industrial efforts. At one time plants making paint were a common source. Twice I personally assisted the Sierra Club in such battles. Arsenic is a good marker because it's much more mobile than other contaminants and shows up in samples much sooner. But in those cases we ran into the problem of naturally occurring concentrations. There have been quite a few cases of folks getting ill in Texas from water wells with natural concentrations. Back to the same point your reference study even admits: they had developed no direct evidence that the frac'ng lead to those high concentrations. That's there actual words. They simply say more research is needed. And I said earlier it's easy: sample the water wells before frac'ng begins in an area. This is not a secret: everyone involved in contamination studies fully understand the importance of establishing a pre-drill baseline. What I find suspicious is that I yet to see one analysis that has taken this approach. Drilling and frac'ng activity are know from the publicly available data base many months before the activity begins. I've made that same recommendation to a number of concerned landowners. Given that pre and post drill analysis would be a rather simple and cheap approach to proving a real smoking gun are 't you surprised we have seen many such reports?

IOW why test hundreds of samples after frac'ng is done when no baseline has been established when a dozen can be done pre and post drill? I know this is an silly comparison but true none the less: in probably ever case where high concentrations of arsenic has been discovered the landowner owner owned a radio. TA DA! Now we have evidence that listening to the radio POSSIBLY causes well water contamination. Yes...very silly. But many of the reports we see follow the same logic. But here's a little reality check: how many of those landowners with high arsenic concentrations used pesticide that contained such nastiest?

And I'm curious: do you understand why I would very pleased to see all frac'ng banned in the US?
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Re: THE Shale Gas Thread (merged)

Unread postby Newfie » Tue 13 Aug 2013, 20:36:09

OK, I'm a sucker, I'll bite.

Supply and demand, you are in oil and don't want the competition.

BTW, thanks for the thoughtful response.
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Re: THE Shale Gas Thread (merged)

Unread postby ROCKMAN » Tue 13 Aug 2013, 21:19:26

Newbie - Exactly. LOL. That's why I have smile when folks say the oil industry wants to frac or produce the Canadian oil sands. Lots of US pubcos want to frac everything in sight. The majority of all energy companies would love to see frac'ng banned...more NG production hurts our profit margins. And probably something like 98% of US oil companies would be glad to see all Canadian oil imports banned. Same reason.

I make this heavy handed point so folks understand the explanations I give about frac'ng and Keystone pipelines are based on a desire for folks to understand the facts...at least as what I see as factual. I try my best to keep self-interest out of the equation. That doesn't make me infallible. Hopefully just honest.
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Re: THE Shale Gas Thread (merged)

Unread postby copious.abundance » Thu 15 Aug 2013, 20:01:04

Abundance aplenty. Mass quantities of plenitude. Billowing founts of wholesome goodness. :)

Marcellus Gas Production Rising Fast in Pa., W.Va.
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Marcellus Shale natural gas production is rising even faster this year than energy experts had predicted, and that's having a national impact on energy.

Bentek, a Colorado company that analyzes energy trends, said 2013 production in Pennsylvania and West Virginia is up about 50 percent compared with last year. Figures for the pipelines that take gas out of the Marcellus show that in the first six months of the year, Pennsylvania produced about 1.5 trillion cubic feet of gas, with projections for a year-end total of about 3.2 trillion cubic feet.

That yearly number translates into the equivalent of about 550 million barrels of oil.

The official mid-2013 production figures for Pennsylvania and West Virginia haven't been released yet by those states, but Bentek's figures are considered very reliable by government and industry sources.

Marcellus production this year "has definitely outpaced our expectations," said Diana Oswald, a Bentek energy analyst, and it's changing long-established national energy trends.

[...]
Stuff for doomers to contemplate:
http://peakoil.com/forums/post1190117.html#p1190117
http://peakoil.com/forums/post1193930.html#p1193930
http://peakoil.com/forums/post1206767.html#p1206767
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Re: THE Shale Gas Thread (merged)

Unread postby ROCKMAN » Fri 16 Aug 2013, 08:23:41

The unconventional NG plays have certainly done well and should continue to do well now that prices have recovered from the 08' price bust. But I think the "changing long term established trends" is a bit of hype. The US has been the leading NG producer on the planet along with Russia since the beginning of the fossil fuel age. We may consume a disproportionate share of the global all production on the planet but have always produced a disproportionately large portion of the worlds NG. NG will continue to be a major energy source for the country for many decades. And as prices continue to rise will be developed further. But IMHO it's the same ole same ole. A good thing but certainly not a step change. No need to hype a good thing when it's been a good thing for so long.
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Re: THE Shale Gas Thread (merged)

Unread postby John_A » Fri 16 Aug 2013, 10:47:18

ROCKMAN wrote: But I think the "changing long term established trends" is a bit of hype.


Oh, now I don't know. See that dip in 2005? That was declared by "experts" to be the naturl gas cliff in America. The "hype" is what happened afterwards instead. Strikes me that if you can stuff it into a pipeline, and deliver it to the consumers burner, its called "produced and consumed natural gas", not hype. And this is an old graph, the reality versus the trend from 1995 to 2005 isn't even the trend anymore.

Image

Rockman wrote:NG will continue to be a major energy source for the country for many decades. And as prices continue to rise will be developed further. But IMHO it's the same ole same ole. A good thing but certainly not a step change. No need to hype a good thing when it's been a good thing for so long.


The "hype" revolves more around, well, lets find an example. Accountants who want to pretend to be oil folks are always good for an example of why they really aren't.

This particular scar mongering came from 2003. In hindsight it's pretty funny. Back in 2003 you could probably see the Barnett drilling rigs from a downtown Fort Worth or Dallas skyrise I imagine, but hey, why should an accountant ever even take the time to look out the window?

"A second major reason is that decisions were made in the 1990s that all new generating plants were to be gas fired. We've had a natural gas summit this year and, as you know, I have been talking for some time about the natural gas cliff we are experiencing. Many thought that this winter would be deadly, and I have to say that it's just a miracle that we have replenished our gas stocks going into the cold months. This winter could have been a major disaster.
"


Major disasters! Deadly! Experiencing a cliff!

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Re: THE Shale Gas Thread (merged)

Unread postby kuidaskassikaeb » Fri 16 Aug 2013, 11:33:27

Dear Rockman;

That was a good reply thanks for taking the time


k – Haven’t been able to follow the entire conversation. But note on your map that the red dotes are wells that tested between 0 and 2 mmcf/d. In reality there are very few if any “dry holes” in the trend. But there may be a high percentage that test a non-commercial flow rate of NG and are thus never produced.


You and Rock Doc are right about this. "It was something I saw on the internet.", When I chased down the source,I would say this is more correct.

Not sure about the cap rock portion of the conversation. Typically there’s no cap rock or top seal with respect to the fractured shale plays. All the NG that is produced from such formations is that which has been taped in the naturally occurring fractures. Those fracture don’t extend infinitely upward. Where they stop vertically is where that production ceases.


A lot of the confusion is that I get information from a lot of sources and they differ in important ways. The cap rock thing I got from a geologist friend of mine. Rock Doc and you seem to differ in the process of fracking, although he seems to have changed his mind. Anyway, what I think you call fractures, somebody else might call a flaw. A flaw would be a place in the rock which has no tensile strength. Anyway, the fluid should flow immediately into these flaws. I would expect that the flaws are then extended in fracking, since as I understand it they listen for the extension with (micro seismic) microphones. Since these cracks are extended it doesn't seem likely that there is a lot of gas trapped in them. When the fluid is removed they remain open due to the propant. I think what most frackers think is that the gas is then emitted from the very high surface area of the fractures. The hyperbolic curve they expect comes from Darcy's (him again) law. It is well known that diffusion dominated processes, and Darcy's law would have the same math, have a square root of time dependence. Your model would not have that dependence, since I assume from your model that these flaws are just accessing pores in the rock.

Where you, Rockdoc, and John differ with me, and I think a lot of other people is that we think that the rock responds plastically to the deformation of fracking, by extending other preexisting flaws away from the frack. If this is enough to provide a percolation path to an aquifer, who knows, but like you said it is possible. Also if there is an increase in contamination near these it may be due to plastic processes far away from the aquifer, allowing nearer things.

Saying there was methane contamination in the water after Cabot drilled doesn’t prove the water wasn’t contaminated before they drilled


To me when somebody says something changed, something changed. I realize that there is a logical flaw there, so it's not proof, but I take it seriously.

k - I can't remember if I've made this point to you before but I do have a dog in the fight over shale frac'ng. A very big dog, in fact: I would be very pleased if they proved frac'ng always damaged fresh water aquifers and was banned everywhere including Texas. It also wouldn't hurt my feelings if the banned the import of all Canadian oil.


Um, I thought I had a dog in this fight also. And also on both sides, since I own land above the Marcellus shale, and I though I would have a decision to make, or have one made for me. I am kind of doubting that now since, the USGS downgraded the western part of the field, and it turns out that I am between the dry gas and wet gas regions,and that video I posted. It seems pretty clear to me that by the time the juggernaut gets to Allegany count if it does all these issues will be more clear.
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Re: THE Shale Gas Thread (merged)

Unread postby kuidaskassikaeb » Fri 16 Aug 2013, 11:42:55

Dear John:

I guess I should stop making fun of you. I did understand your arguments.

Not quite. See, the short circuit of cement opens up a pathway to somewhere...that somewhere may be to yet a higher pressure formation...in which case nothing happens (or something flows the other way through the cement) or the pathway opens up WAY UP ABOVE somewhere, at a lower pressure, and suddenly the formation has an escape route. Call it a thief zone. An aquifer could potentially be just that, if the leak through the layers of steel and cement allowed a producing formation to get to it.

Of course, we aren't talking about fracking now but well design, and well design by law puts fresh water aquifers up top behind cement and steel. I should say, MORE cement and steel, so now we need multiple failures for something to get that far up top.


I thought that I knew what happened in Dimrock, and didn't think that anybody had mentioned concrete, in all my outside reading. I found a source, and thought that it should be included, since I knew you all would find it important. It seems strange to me though, if the DEC has a "smoking gun," why Cabot would even fight the charges.
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Re: THE Shale Gas Thread (merged)

Unread postby ROCKMAN » Fri 16 Aug 2013, 21:44:35

K - you have a better handle on it then most. But for clarity: a fracture in the rock is just that... a fracture. A weak point of sort but not so much on a large scale. The natural fractures are actual porous AND permeable areas in the shale. The shale rock (the 'matrix') may have porosity but the small grain size kills the permeabity to practical zero. The only production volume of any meaningful volume comes from the natural fracture planes that were able to fill with oil/NG over millions of years. That's why hz wells are critical: the fractures tend to be sub-vertical and statistically more likely to be cut by a hz well path. Also the productive zone tends to be only a few hundred feet thick at most.

The purpose of frac'ng is two fold. First to open up the natural fractures and increase their permeability. Second is to extend the manmade fractures out to cut any nearby natural fractures the well didn't cut. You can frac an unfractured shale all day long and get no commercial flow. That's one problem with folks who think there is a lot of potential for all shales around the world to be big commercial plays. A shale with no natural fractures will never be commercial. A shale with lots of natural fractures and no hydrocarbons in the fractures will never be commercial. I've drilled many badly fractured shales that produced no oil/NG. They are well known in areas where they occur because the tend to cause serious drill problems. The most common sedimentary rock is shale. Most have no commercial potential. For instance there are dozens of other shale formations above and below the Eagle Ford. And they have been penetrated by tens of thousands of wells in the area of the EFS play and very few have shown any commercial potential.

Now, back to frac'ng. Yes microseismic is a great technology that shows exactly where the manmade fractures are propagated. The frac vendors are always trying to convince operators that there frac system can produce longer and taller fractures. And time and again microseismic has shown they seldom hit their target. Not once has microseismic shown any fractures that have extended upwards thousands of feet. A really good fracture at 8,000' or 10,000' might extend upwards 100'. And think about the primary goal: an operator will spend several $million to frac a zone less than 200' thick. Why would he create fractures that extended upwards above the target zone to a formation that has no production potential? The goal is to extend the fractures out laterally as far as possible to cut as many natural fractures as possible. And even if they cut a deep fault the volumes of sand pumped wouldn't be sufficient to come close to reaching fresh water acquirers. Of course, if a company is frac'ng a shallow zone, say above 3,000, that's a different situation. But for the vast majority of the formations under discussion they are too deep for fractures to reach the surface.

Bad cement jobs can allow a frac job to reach the surface. Likewise with rupturing the casing shallow. But the annulus pressure is monitored during a frac job and they shut down at first sign of such a problem. And they do so not for the sake of the aquifer or environment. Such accidents tend to kill the hands, destroy $millions of frac equipment and totally waste $millions of the operator's capes as well as failing to frac a well they just spent several $million+ to drill.

Again, as I read the story no one had shown that problem didn't exist before Cabot drilled. They just showed the probe existed afterwards. And they also repeatedly pointed out that they found similar problems in areas where there has been no oil patch drilling. And I've seen many companies settle when they've done nothing wrong because it was a cheaper gamble than going to court. In your case my recommendation is the same I always make: get a baseline established by a certified company before drilling starts. And if you haven't signed a lease yet make them pay for your independent test. That's cheap insurance for them especially when they realize you're no dummy.
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Re: THE Shale Gas Thread (merged)

Unread postby Tanada » Fri 30 Aug 2013, 08:28:43

For those who are looking at the world shale picture a rather confused piece recently apeared in the Telegraph about Estonia.
“We are the most energy independent country in the European Union, and we will not compromise our energy security. We have a large neighbour,” said Juhan Parts, the economy minister.

It is the same story wherever you go across Eastern Europe: the fuel debate comes down to Vladimir Putin’s Russia, and Gazprom’s stranglehold on gas supplies. Global warming inevitably plays second fiddle. “Estonia is not rich enough to experiment with immature technologies,” said Mr Parts.

“Even if we had to invest in new power plants today, shale would still be cheapest. Russian gas costs 1.8 times as much; onshore wind 2 times as much; and offshore wind 2.5 times as much.”


http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/news ... -boom.html

Seems pretty clearly stated that economics trumps environmental concern, which is no surprise, unfortunately.
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