Tools Needed for Fracking

As discussed previously, hydraulic fracturing has become an advanced method of procuring oil and natural gas from low-permeability shale rock.  The process of hydraulic fracturing (otherwise known as fracking) begins by drilling deep into the earth, as most unconventional reserves of hydrocarbons exist far below the earth’s surface.  The actual fracturing process occurs when a mixture of water, sand, and additives are pumped into the shale rock at high pressure.  This releases the hydrocarbons, allowing them to flow freely through the wellbore.iStock_000024745297_Small

While the basic process of fracking is fairly simple, the procedure requires robust, resilient, and highly precise machinery.  In addition, time is extremely valuable during most fracking operations.  Downtime during the drilling process can risk significant loss of revenue.  Not only is it essential for operators to have access to the best tools, but it is also highly important for them to partner with distributors that can deliver these high quality tools as promptly as possible.

A wide variety of equipment, both large and small, is required for full scale fracturing operations.  The overall environment for fracking operations is very harsh, requiring equipment that can withstand extreme conditions.  For instance, hydraulic fracturing requires a wide scope of high quality valves.  Many different varieties are used, including ball, three-, and four-way solenoid valves.  Blending equipment requires swing check and butterfly valves.  For pumping, plug, gate, and dart-style check valves are usually employed. Pump Systems

In order to endure the conditions created by fracking operations, valves must be of highly robust design.  They must regularly withstand pulsation and fatigue.  The best quality valves are made from carbon and stainless steel, Hastelloy, Monel, Duplex, and other alloys.  Pressure ratings up to 10,000 psig and more are required on a regular basis.  State-of-the-art valves are not only more efficient; they help provide maximum levels of safety as well, creating cost-effective solutions for the difficult conditions created by fracking.

In addition to valves, many other types of equipment are required for successful fracking.  These include gauges, regulators, tubing, temperature and flow control products, among others.  Temperature and pressure gauges with high quality safety features are very important.  Also, pressure-rated, Teflon-lined hoses and tubes with maximum flexibility are needed.  The water, sand, and additive mixture that is injected during the fracturing process needs to be well controlled and monitored.  This means that highly accurate flow and temperature control products and sensors must be employed throughout the process.  This ensures that all materials are transported with maximum levels of safety and efficiency.  The fracking process calls for tough and robust tools.  When they are employed, fracturing can take place smoothly, quickly, and at the highest levels of cost effectiveness and safety.

The volume of untapped hydrocarbons in shale rock strongly suggests that hydraulic fracturing will be with us for some time.  Fracking has played an important role in making the United States into a major producer of fossil fuels.  Operators who use the best equipment gain a valuable edge—both in maintaining efficient production numbers and providing the safest processes.  Finding a supplier that understands and provides the best fracturing tools plays a vital part in running a successful operation.


Hydraulic Fracturing: Then and Now

The process of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is one of the leading methods of retrieving Hydraulic Fracturingoil and natural gas in use today.  A number of modern fracking procedures are considered to be at the leading edge of technology in the industry, but the process is far from new.  Modern commercial hydraulic fracturing processes date back over 60 years, and the pioneers in this field date back even further.  In fact, the first fracturing processes were done at the end of the Civil War.

The first person to hold a patent for this method of oil retrieval was Edward A. L. Roberts, a civil war veteran.  Colonel Roberts’ methods were a bit more extreme than today’s hydraulic fracturing.  He used a torpedo.  After viewing Confederate artillery rounds being shot into a canal to clear an obstruction to the battlefield, Roberts had an idea for a practical application of these explosives.  He called the process “superincumbent fluid tamping,” and it vastly increased individual oil well production.  Colonel Roberts’ torpedoes consisted of 15 to 20 lbs. of gunpowder in an iron case, which was lowered down into a well and exploded.  Water was also included to better fracture the oil strata.  This process saw immediate effects, including production increases in some cases of up to 1,200 percent.

Today, fracturing no longer uses gunpowder, but its results can be just as dramatic.  Nowhere is this more evident than in oil rich areas such as the Eagleford Shale in South Texas and the Permian Basin in Texas and New Mexico.  Back in 2011, hydraulic fracturing was in the middle of a wide expansion.  Vast amounts of gas and liquid hydrocarbons were to be found in shale formations throughout the region, including an area known as the Wolfberry.  This formation was long known for its low permeability, exemplified by columns of shale, limestone, sand, and siltstone. Operators knew about the stores of hydrocarbons in this formation for over 60 years, but only recently were they able to access it by using advances in hydraulic fracturing processes.

Well operators were able to tap the Wolfberry by a number of methods.  These included increasing the fracturing stage count, using premium proppants for deeper zones, and lowering the average polymer concentrations.  Procedures like these made it profitable to access this formation and numerous others throughout the Permian Basin.  This contributed to the new oil boom in the area.  Not only was this a game changer for the local economy, but contributed vastly to America’s domestic oil production.  Advanced fracking methods were an important part of what made it all possible.

Hydraulic fracturing has advanced a long way since it was first innovated in 1865.  Recent technological innovations have placed the process at the forefront of the energy industry.  Fracking, combined with the process of horizontal drilling, has helped to unlock massive new supplies of oil and natural gas that were locked in impermeable shale formations.  In the uncertain world of energy supply, these advances have helped our future to become more secure with reliable domestic supplies of petroleum.