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.
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.
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.