Boom in fracking for oil and gas recovery sparks new technology

Sep 07, 2011

With a technology called "fracking" sparking energy booms — and controversy — worldwide, Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN) describes advances in the workhorse materials used to produce oil and gas from previously inaccessible deposits deep below Earth's surface. C&EN is the American Chemical Society's weekly newsmagazine.

In the article in C&EN's current edition, Senior Business Editor Melody M. Bomgardner explains that fracking or hydraulic fracturing involves pumping massive amounts of grainy substances, called proppants, down or natural wells. Proppants enable production from rock formations 10,000 or 20,000 feet below the surface. To access the oil and gas in these deposits, they need to be fractured open with a mixture of fluid and proppants pumped down wells under high pressure. The grains literally prop up the fissures in these rocks so that oil and gas can flow to the surface.

The article describes development of a new genre of proppants to meet the needs of today's drillers. For wells that reach more than a mile down, drillers may need 10 million to 20 million pounds of proppants to get oil or natural gas flowing. Drilling companies are going after more-difficult-to-access reserves of oil and gas that require tougher proppants. Some of the new materials, for instance, use high-tech ceramics like those used in aerospace and military applications or sand with each particle coated with curable resins.

Explore further: Have our bodies held the key to new antibiotics all along?

More information: Proppant Progress - pubs.acs.org/cen/business/89/8936bus3.html

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Researchers use sound to search for gas, oil

Sep 07, 2006

Just as doctors use ultrasound to image internal organs and unborn babies, MIT Earth Resources Laboratory researchers listen to the echoing language of rocks to map what's going on tens of thousands of feet below the Earth's ...

Hundreds attend EPA hearing on Pa. gas drilling

Jul 22, 2010

(AP) -- Hundreds of people are attending a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency hearing in southwestern Pennsylvania on a controversial natural gas drilling technique called hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking."

Research digs deep into the fracking controversy

Apr 11, 2011

The turmoil in oil-producing nations is triggering turmoil at home, as rising oil prices force Americans to pay more at the pump. Meanwhile, there's a growing industry that's promising jobs and access to cheaper ...

Recommended for you

The origins of handedness in life

16 hours ago

Handedness is a complicated business. To simply say life is left-handed doesn't even begin to capture the blooming hierarchy of binary refinements it continues to evolve. Over the years there have been numerous ...

Have our bodies held the key to new antibiotics all along?

19 hours ago

As the threat of antibiotic resistance grows, scientists are turning to the human body and the trillion or so bacteria that have colonized us—collectively called our microbiota—for new clues to fighting microbial infections. ...

Characterizing an important reactive intermediate

Oct 01, 2014

An international group of researchers led by Dr. Warren E. Piers (University of Calgary) and Dr. Heikki M. Tuononen (University of Jyväskylä) has been able to isolate and characterize an important chemical ...

Surfaces that communicate in bio-chemical Braille

Oct 01, 2014

A Braille-like method that enables medical implants to communicate with a patient's cells could help reduce biomedical and prosthetic device failure rates, according to University of Sydney researchers.

User comments : 0