Friday, April 15, 2011-Conservativethinkers blogspot
Freaking Fracking in Tioga! What's going on?
Gasfrac Energy Services out of Texas
About gas 'fracking'
New York's drilling moratorium
Fracking the Haynesville Shale in Louisiana
Fracking fractures a NY County
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.
Binghamton — If all goes according to plan, a Canadian company could be using a petroleum-based gel to fracture the Marcellus Shale even before New York opens the gates for high-volume hydraulic fracturing.
In a presentation Thursday at the Broome County Office Building, a representative from GasFrac Energy Services Inc. said the firm, which has worked on natural gas and oil rigs in Canada and Texas, has had discussions with gas companies about contracting to tap into the state’s portion of the Marcellus. The company developed a patented fracturing method that uses Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) — plus three chemical additives — to break the shale and release natural gas, as opposed to conventional hydrofracking, which uses large amounts of water mixed with chemicals.
“We’ve done exploration-type work in an area of the Marcellus in Pennsylvania with an operator already, and our intent is to follow up again,” said Robert Lestz, chief technology officer for GasFrac. “It has to be economically viable, and it has to be good for us, the energy companies and the local communities. I
t’s going to depend on whether we have an operator willing to go forward with this process.”
The method would not be subject to the provisions of the state’s Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement, which is currently under review by the Department of Environmental Conservation and will only guide permitting for the type of hydrofracking being used by companies in Pennsylvania and other shale formations.
But a DEC spokesman said it doesn’t have enough information to determine which set of rules would apply to the GasFrac process, and it would not be able to proceed until that is sorted out.
“DEC is aware of the LPG process but there have been no permit applications or other submissions, including scientific and technical studies, that would enable us to conduct an evaluation at this time,” spokesman Michael Bopp said.
Lestz gave a two-hour presentation to area lawmakers, municipal leaders and residents Thursday in both Binghamton and Owego.
On Wednesday, he met privately with members of the Tioga County Landowners Group to push his company’s method as a more eco-friendly alternative to traditional hydrofracking, which has been on hold in New York since July 2008.
GasFrac claims its process can produce the same yield of natural gas — or even better — from the tight shale formation while using about 20 percent of the liquid used in water-based fracking.
A traditional high-volume hydrofracking job can use upwards of eight million gallons of water.
Less fluid would mean less truck traffic, Lestz said.
Most of the LPG turns into propane after the fracking process and returns to the surface, according to the company.
However, widespread implementation of the company’s method won’t happen overnight, if it happens at all.
Currently, GasFrac has just four crews, with plans to expand to eight by the end of the year.
“We are incrementally increasing the volume of our crews,” Lestz said.
“The way the industry adapts to new technology is not necessarily immediate.
It takes a growth period.
We’re trying to couple our technologies with companies that are more progressive and see the total value, because it is a challenge if you’ve always been doing it one way or a common way to understand how this thing is going to grow.”
It hasn’t been all smooth sailing for GasFrac, which began using its technology in 2008.
In January, a propane leak and subsequent explosion at a well site in Alberta, Canada led to three workers suffering non-life-threatening burns and the company to temporarily suspend its operations.
Lestz said the company has since learned from the incident and made adjustments at its work sites, (what & where?) including where its workers are positioned.
The method has its detractors, but Tioga landowners coalition members said it is on board.
“We have convinced ourselves that hydrofracking can be done safely if it has the right set of governance at the DEC, the right terms in the lease and some adult supervision,”
said Nick Schoonover, chair of the Tioga group and the state chapter of the National Association of Royalty Owners.
“This, because it doesn’t involve harmful chemicals and has considerably less environmental issues and truck traffic, offers a very interesting and appealing alternative.”
April 14th meeting at:
Owego Free Academy Auditorium
In Tioga County, New York,
A group of landowners comprised of 1,826 families that own 126,000 acres of land will be introducing a company that can perform gas drilling without the use of water or chemicals in its process.
The open meeting for the introduction is scheduled to take place on April 14, at 6:30 p.m. in the Owego Free Academy Auditorium located on Sheldon Guile Boulevard in Owego, New York.
The company, Gasfrac Energy Services out of Texas, utilizes gelled Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) in place of conventional fracturing fluids (water), according to Nick Schoonover, chairman of the Tioga County Landowner’s Group – a group that was established in 2008 to unify Tioga County, New York landowners.
Schoonover also explained what he described as an “environmentally friendly” process utilized by Gasfrac, and how he came about discovering the company that uses it.
When the Tioga County Landowner’s Group formed in 2008, according to Schoonover, it got off the ground with a couple hundred people. He added that it soon grew to over 500 members.
He talked of the group’s formation, and how in the beginning landowners were reporting that they received about three to five dollars an acre – a small sum in comparison to the $3,500 per acre that was later derived by larger companies who leased the drilling rights.
By uniting together as a landowner’s group, Schoonover explained how lawyers were able to work with landowners that joined in formulating a future lease that could be utilized by all to ensure they were getting a fair deal on their mineral rights and potential land use for drilling.
Schoonover additionally noted that they selected attorneys that had knowledge of the environmental and landowner protection aspects as well.
Schoonover also described the members of the group as being concerned for the environment as well.
“Eighty-one percent of our members came in to our group with a focus on protecting their land and water,” said Schoonover.
“We’re not a group saying ‘Drill Baby Drill’,” he added.
With that mindset, Schoonover began to research, following the formation of the landowner’s group, and soon discovered Gasfrac out of Texas, and their process that claims to utilize LPG versus water.
Schoonover described the current process being utilized in most areas, to include Pennsylvania, in which 99.6 percent of the material is water and sand, and the other 4 percent utilized is chemicals such as hydrochloric acid.
So when Schoonover learned of Gasfrac, it was good news for him, environmentally.
“Here’s a technology that gets away from chemicals and the use of water,” he said. “LPG is from the earth anyhow.”
He added that the current process of hydrofracing being utilized, however, can also be done safely under the right circumstances. “This process gets rid of some of the current problems such as waste disposal and increased truck traffic.”
But when Schoonover learned of the company, he didn’t jump into things right away – he gave it time. “No wine before its time,” said Schoonover of the wait to see where the company had accomplished some things.
Currently, Schoonover added, the company has done extensive drilling in both Texas and Canada, and is slowly moving into New York.
Schoonover also feels that the stalling of drilling in New York State, while landowners await a release of the Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement (SGEIS) from the Department of Environmental Conservation, has been to their benefit.
“Since New York has stalled,” said Schoonover, “and if we like what we see … maybe this will help us move forward.”
In the meantime, Schoonover has developed a position paper on the prospective use of Gasfrac’s technique, and will be speaking with politicians.
Schoonover is hopeful that this water-free process will get things moving forward.
And although Schoonover realized that there would still be issues with truck traffic and other things related to the gas drilling industry, there would be no waste derived from the drilling sites, and no issue on where the water would be coming from.
With that prospect in hand, Schoonover stated that the landowners hope to negotiate a deal on the approximate 100,000 acres available for drilling within Tioga County, New York. Additionally, he hopes to see things begin late in the year, or early into next year.
If they can drill, said Schoonover, it would take about four to five months to set things in place.
To learn more about Gasfrac and their technique, attend the meeting planned for April 14 at 6:30 p.m. in Owego. You can also visit www.tiogagaslease.org to learn more.
We reached out to a representative from Gasfrac for comment on their process, but were unsuccessful. It is understood that representatives from Gasfrac will be present at the April 14 meeting to answer any questions.
The biggest news for the production of oil and gas in North America!
It can be safely said, I believe, that the biggest news for the production of oil and gas in North America has been the ability to turn shale oil and gas deposits into assets capable of commercial production.
Hydraulic fracking was first developed in an effort to free NG (natural gas) from tight shales, and was found to be applicable to shale oil deposits as well.
Forcing water, augmented with various chemicals, caused the shale to fracture, enabling the gas and/or oil to flow towards the well.
Unfortunately, as in much of life, there are no "free lunches", and it wasn't all that long until environmentalists started pointing out the drawbacks to hydraulic fracking.
1) First, it can consume significant amounts of water, which is another resource that is becoming increasingly in short supply.
2) More important are the chemicals that are added to the water to facilitate the fracturing of the shale. In most, if not all cases, the firms that employ the process deem the chemicals used and their proportions to be "proprietary",
making it difficult, if not impossible, to ensure the waste water is properly handled with minimal effect on an area's groundwater supply.
Often, the waste water generated is held in "settling ponds".
But a Canadian firm, GasFrac Energy Services (GSFVF.PK) has come up with a process that is equal, or superior, to using water as the fracking medium.
Trading on the TSX-V (Toronto Stock Exchange-Ventures) under the ticker GFS, the firm's process employs gelled LPG (liquid propane gas) to fracture the shale.
According to the firm's website, in their process the LPG is highly soluble, and virtually 100% recoverable from the oil/gas production stream.
With "conventional" hydraulic fracking, as much as 50% of the carrier can remain in the formation, hindering well performance.
At a town hall meeting in Tioga County in upstate NY, GFS pointed out a number of environmental advantages their method has compared to conventional hydraulic fracking.
It has been successfully used in 700 Canadian wells.
1) The additives to propane are patented, openly
published, and approved by OSHA.
2) There is no (or negligible) flaring.
3) There are no settling ponds.
4) 95% of the propane, along with the natural gas,
is in a single gaseous wih the natural gas and
comes up with some sand and additives.
5) These are separated, with the propane being used
for the next well, and the NG going into the
6) For a 6 well platform, only 7 trucks are used to
bring in the propane, as opposed to about 30
trucks coming in, and almost 30 going out, with
It should be noted that GFS is a relatively new firm, and only went public in 2010.
The firm's website only provides for 36 months of financial statements.
Still, it's notable that the firm increased revenue from $30.4M in 2009, to $96.9M in 2010, and is now expanding into Texas shale plays.