Hydraulic Fracturing 101
Sand, water and pressure: the basic components of building a great sandcastle, and the same ones being used today to spur a revolution in the way Americans access and utilize clean-burning energy resources confined deep underground.
At the forefront of this revolution is a technology known as hydraulic fracturing, a well stimulation practice first pioneered by Halliburton in the 1940s – but whose safe and efficient use has never been more important than right now.
So how does hydraulic fracturing actually work? Where and why is it used? And what safeguards are in place to help ensure that health, safety and the environment are considered at each stage of the process?
What's in the Fluids?
Even though sand and water typically comprise more than 99.5 percent of the fluid system used in fracturing, getting that fluid to formations thousands of feet underground requires advanced chemistry and engineering to do things like:
- Fight the growth and buildup of bacteria in the fluid and the wellbore
- Ensure the sand (or proppant) is properly suspended, enabling it to be delivered into the fracture
- Reduce the surface tension of the water in contact with the reservoir to improve production
So what kind of additives are we talking about here? And what are some of their other common household and industrial uses?
Halliburton invests considerable time, energy and resources in engineering solutions that set new standards for environmental safety – all while helping our customers do more by using less.
- CleanStim® Formulation, a fracture fluid system comprised of materials sourced entirely from the food industry.
Here are just a few of the others:
- CleanStream® Service: Uses UV light instead of additives to control bacteria
- CleanWave™ System: Treats wastewater at the wellsite, allowing it to be reused and recycled by the operator – significantly reducing the need for freshwater.