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Hydraulic Fracturing the Key to Michiganís Energy Future
Michigan Capitol Confidential ^ | 11/23/2010 | Russ Harding

Posted on 11/23/2010 11:33:39 AM PST by MichCapCon

The United States has ample natural gas supplies to provide the nation's energy needs for the remainder of the century. The problem is that much of the natural gas is found in deep shale formations several thousand feet below the earth's surface. Geologists have known for years that the natural gas was there, but no one knew how to economically recover it. That has changed with the use of modern hydraulic fracturing technology combined with horizontal drilling techniques.

Wind and other alternative energy get most of the attention from politicians and the media, but producing natural gas by hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking" as it is commonly referred to, is far more important to America's ability to provide affordable and dependable energy to heat our homes and power our industries.

(Excerpt) Read more at michigancapitolconfidential.com ...


TOPICS: Science
KEYWORDS: environment; fracking; hydraulicfracturing; methane; michigan; naturalgas

1 posted on 11/23/2010 11:33:44 AM PST by MichCapCon
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To: MichCapCon

Big fights over this. Which state will win? NY, Penn, Mich


2 posted on 11/23/2010 11:40:31 AM PST by Sacajaweau
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To: MichCapCon

what is the potential or estimated supply for natural gas beneath Michigan utilizing ‘fracking’ techniques?

I know that a lot is being done in PA and NY but I hadn’t heard anything about Michigan and the article doesn’t really indicate what may be there....?


3 posted on 11/23/2010 11:40:49 AM PST by Enchante (What if the Olberdork returned to the air - and no one notices.... or cares?)
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To: MichCapCon

They are going to destroy all the groundwater reservoirs around where this will be done.


4 posted on 11/23/2010 11:42:05 AM PST by Secret Agent Man (I'd like to tell you, but then I'd have to kill you.)
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To: Enchante
what is the potential or estimated supply for natural gas beneath Michigan utilizing ‘fracking’ techniques?

Lots, but none of it will be allowed to be recovered. The greenies will regulate away any possibility of recovery. They hate America that bad.

5 posted on 11/23/2010 11:45:57 AM PST by 17th Miss Regt
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To: Secret Agent Man
They are going to destroy all the groundwater reservoirs around where this will be done.

You've bought into the anti-fracking propaganda from the left. Fracking does not spread cracks from the target formation thousands of feet deep into near-surface groundwater formations - that would instead be counterproductive by allowing natural gas to leave the target formation instead of entering the wellbore for collection at the surface. Basic regulations like those in place in North Dakota make sure that well casing is properly set to protect groundwater and that leftover fracking fluid is properly disposed of to protect surface water.

And fracking is hardly new, it's been around for decades. The only difference now is the scale with the fracking of horizonal wells.

6 posted on 11/23/2010 11:48:40 AM PST by dirtboy
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To: MichCapCon

Gas companies started fracking here in Arkansas a couple of years ago, and now we have areas (specifically the community of Guy) experiencing 1-10 earthquakes a day, up to 3.9 richter. Is it caused by the fracking? Can’t say for certain, but we didn’t have all the e’quakes beforehand. Draw your own conclusions. - OB1


7 posted on 11/23/2010 11:50:28 AM PST by OB1kNOb (Don't make me go ALL CAPS on you.)
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To: Enchante

All of the drilling is in PA for the Marcellus Shale. I believe that NY has a drilling moratorium.


8 posted on 11/23/2010 11:52:09 AM PST by Born Conservative ("I'm a fan of disruptors" - Nancy Pelosi)
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To: MichCapCon

This technology and concept is well proven (pardon the pun)... The Barnett Shale runs from Oklahoma down through Fort Worth, Texas and the adjacent area. Since around 2000 over 8000 natural gas wells - mostly still producing - have been drilled here... Mostly in Wise County, Tarrant County (greater Fort Worth) and Johnson and Parker counties...

This has meant everything to a better economy for our area - well service companies are everywhere... truckers of all nature... drilling rigs with employees actively working everywhere you look.

We had a downturn for a while after 2008 - but it is coming back strong.

Bottom line - It works ....


9 posted on 11/23/2010 11:55:27 AM PST by ICCtheWay
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To: Secret Agent Man

The entire great lakes basin? Thousands of square miles.


10 posted on 11/23/2010 11:58:21 AM PST by cripplecreek (Remember the River Raisin! (look it up))
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To: MichCapCon

Because of the success being had in other shale gas plays, there is now a glut of natural gas on the market. Since shale gas is more expensive to produce than conventional sources, drilling may slow down once current lease commitments are met. It is a boom and bust cycle.

Read more on the gas glut here:

http://www.businessinsider.com/natural-gas-better-days-ahead-in-two-years-2010-11

For oil and gas reserve estimates for Michigan see here:

http://pubs.usgs.gov/fs/2005/3070/


11 posted on 11/23/2010 12:01:43 PM PST by epithermal
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To: dirtboy

The people who’s wells have been affected, farmers are the ones I’ve seen talking about it, mainly, are not hard core leftists. They might like subsidies for not planting something, but they also like to drink their water.

What do you say to all the folks that have noticed major changes to their water and the key difference all in common to them is that they have new fracking operations taking place very close to their wells? Some of these folks leased part of their own land to the companies after assurances it would not harm groundwater, yet their water becomes undrinkable. there seems to be causal evidence for fracking releasing trapped gases in the ground getting into groundwater reservoirs.


12 posted on 11/23/2010 12:03:14 PM PST by Secret Agent Man (I'd like to tell you, but then I'd have to kill you.)
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To: ICCtheWay

IIRC, modern fracking is far more encompassing than what was being tried in the seventies. Has anyone done real studies of any particular locale doing the modern more effective fracking as it effects long range water usage? There is a town in PA which no longer has viable water wells because of the infusion of gas into the fluids at pressure making the water burnable ... water wells for human consumption are going to be effected, but has anyone doen long range actual studies?


13 posted on 11/23/2010 12:06:41 PM PST by MHGinTN (Some, believing they can't be deceived, it's nigh impossible to convince them when they're deceived.)
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To: cripplecreek

Please wake up. I didn’t say that. I am saying the problem affects local wells. The stories I have seen and know about are basically farmer folks that have leased out small parts of their land to oil companies who do fracking on that part of the land, and shortly after it begins find their well water is no longer drinkable, has bubbles in it, smells funny.


14 posted on 11/23/2010 12:07:26 PM PST by Secret Agent Man (I'd like to tell you, but then I'd have to kill you.)
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To: Secret Agent Man
And those problems are most likely due to improper casing or contamination from surface pits into groundwater. Pennsylvania needs to beef up its regulatory staff and look at other states such as North Dakota for best practices in regulating oil and gas activity.

Like I said, adequate regulation can take care of this problem. But the anti-fracking crowd makes fracking out to be something particularly new and sinister - when it has been around and used for decades.

15 posted on 11/23/2010 12:14:26 PM PST by dirtboy
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To: MHGinTN
IIRC, modern fracking is far more encompassing than what was being tried in the seventies.

Only difference is that wells are being drilled horizonally through the formation. Otherwise, fracking still takes place thousands of feet below groundwater formations, and it would be counterproductive to frack a well so that the cracks extend beyond the pay formation - because a lot of natural gas would get lost.

16 posted on 11/23/2010 12:16:16 PM PST by dirtboy
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To: MHGinTN

Fracking wouldn’t be necessary in Michigan anyway. The night sky around here is already lit up with flares from existing oil wells.


17 posted on 11/23/2010 12:16:48 PM PST by cripplecreek (Remember the River Raisin! (look it up))
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To: Sacajaweau

Texas and Louisiana win.

They are not fighting hydraulic fracturing of their gas shales. The are welcoming the jobs and income with open arms while they result in lower gas cost for their citizens.

By the way, hydraulic fracturing has been used for 60 years in more traditional oil/gas fields before the media latched onto a made up controversy when used in shale fields


18 posted on 11/23/2010 12:17:34 PM PST by thackney (life is fragile, handle with prayer)
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To: MHGinTN

Gas drilling in Texas is regulated ... we have had some problems as one might expect with thousands of well being drilled... Some water contamination has occurred and some substances like benzene being released...

But personally, as a man who lives with a rocks throw of dozens of wells... and within a mile of hundreds of wells... I am not concerned.

Human endeavors have risks and side effects... we learn to deal with them - otherwise the Industrial Revolution would never have taken place and our current standard of living would not exist.


19 posted on 11/23/2010 12:20:22 PM PST by ICCtheWay
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To: dirtboy

Well if there’s a way to do it that doesn’t contaminate groundwater or render someone’s well undrinkable, fine.

So nobody in North Dakota lost their well water because they just know how to do it right there? Who has to put the casings in, the people doing the fracking, or the guy who wants his well water to remain the way it is?


20 posted on 11/23/2010 12:21:19 PM PST by Secret Agent Man (I'd like to tell you, but then I'd have to kill you.)
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To: Secret Agent Man

“What do you say to all the folks that have noticed major changes to their water and the key difference all in common to them is that they have new fracking operations taking place very close to their wells? Some of these folks leased part of their own land to the companies after assurances it would not harm groundwater, yet their water becomes undrinkable. there seems to be causal evidence for fracking releasing trapped gases in the ground getting into groundwater reservoirs.”

I saw that episode of CSI a few weeks ago, too :).

The company I work for has an office in South Dakota; and, they are in the water business. In particular, they are some of the country’s biggest experts/advocates for Indian water rights. They engineer drilling for water, storing it, treating it, and transmitting it...they know alot about it.

Well guess what...they are getting into the shale fracturing business too. Their water expertise is useful in bringing water to the drilling sites, and pumping the resource to containers. They have no concerns at all about fouling the groundwater. None.

...and they know a little about it.


21 posted on 11/23/2010 12:24:48 PM PST by lacrew (Mr. Soetoro, we regret to inform you that your race card is over the credit limit.)
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To: Secret Agent Man

http://www.naturalgas.org/naturalgas/well_completion.asp

Conductor Casing

Conductor casing is installed first, usually prior to the arrival of the drilling rig. The hole for conductor casing is often drilled with a small auger drill, mounted on the back of a truck. Conductor casing is usually no more than 20 to 50 feet long. It is installed to prevent the top of the well from caving in and to help in the process of circulating the drilling fluid up from the bottom of the well. Onshore, this casing is usually 16 to 20 inches in diameter, while offshore casing usually measures 30 to 42 inches. The conductor casing is cemented into place before drilling begins.

Surface Casing

Surface casing is the next type of casing to be installed. It can be anywhere from a few hundred to 2,000 feet long, and is smaller in diameter than the conductor casing. When installed, the surface casing fits inside the top of the conductor casing. The primary purpose of surface casing is to protect fresh water deposits near the surface of the well from being contaminated by leaking hydrocarbons or salt water from deeper underground. It also serves as a conduit for drilling mud returning to the surface, and helps protect the drill hole from being damaged during drilling. Surface casing, like conductor casing, is cemented into place. Regulations often dictate the thickness of the cement to be used to ensure that there is little possibility of freshwater contamination.

Intermediate Casing

Intermediate casing is usually the longest section of casing found in a well. The primary purpose of intermediate casing is to minimize the hazards that come along with subsurface formations that may affect the well. These include abnormal underground pressure zones, underground shale, and formations that might otherwise contaminate the well, such as underground salt-water deposits. In many instances, even though there may be no evidence of an unusual underground formation, intermediate casing is run as insurance against the possibility of such a formation affecting the well. These intermediate casing areas may also be cemented into place for added protection.


22 posted on 11/23/2010 12:25:25 PM PST by dirtboy
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To: Secret Agent Man
Maybe time to install water mains if it is possible and effective.

We had an old dump near a new subdivision. 5 wells had been dug and tested. All failed due to heavy metal contamination from the nearby dump.

The developer was forced to go a mile away and install a watermain to the project. I believe he had financial assistance since the Health Department had already approved the use of wells and many others would benefit.

I also believe the Town/Health Dept. had been negligent over the years in not testing nearby wells. It worked out very well in the end and the whole town benefited.

23 posted on 11/23/2010 12:26:22 PM PST by Sacajaweau
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To: epithermal

I beg to differ, but shale, and particularly the Marcellus shale, is the least costly to produce. Initial drilling and fracking costs are higher, but the amount of production far exceeds conventional plays. I’ll give you an example. The average conventional well drilled in PA has net production of 16 mcf per day after the initial three years of flush production. A well such as this would cost $250,000. A Marcellus well, even a poor one, will do 3000 mcf per day. Some have tested at over 20,000 mcf per day. Using the 3000 mcf was as the norm, and reflecting the average cost of such a well at $5,000,000, it would take 187 conventional wells to match the daily output of a mediocre Marcellus well. Do the math and you will understand why Marcellus wells are being drilled so rapidly.


24 posted on 11/23/2010 12:35:20 PM PST by burghguy
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To: lacrew
For all I know, fracking is what they're doing around here now and have been for as long as I can remember. I know they pump a lot of water into the ground.

The night sky around here on a night with low clouds. The bright light in the center is a new drilling rig that has since been replaced with a well.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us
25 posted on 11/23/2010 12:39:17 PM PST by cripplecreek (Remember the River Raisin! (look it up))
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To: Secret Agent Man

And the answer to about who puts in the casing, that is done by the drilling operator. The fracking is usually done by a separate company, and after drilling is completed. Regulation of setting and cementing casing is a state matter, as is disposal of leftover fracking fluid - and I do agree Pennsylvania needs to work on improving its regulatory structure, I think the rapid growth of the Marcellus play caught them off-guard - but also realize that PA has the oldest history of oil exploration and development in the world, so it’s not like they are neophytes to this, either.


26 posted on 11/23/2010 12:41:55 PM PST by dirtboy
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To: dirtboy

Did you cut and paste from another natural gas thread? Same stuff


27 posted on 11/23/2010 12:49:12 PM PST by stainlessbanner
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To: cripplecreek

“For all I know, fracking is what they’re doing around here now and have been for as long as I can remember. I know they pump a lot of water into the ground.”

I think some oild extraction involves pumping water in, just to displace the oil...but I don’t know for sure.


28 posted on 11/23/2010 12:51:32 PM PST by lacrew (Mr. Soetoro, we regret to inform you that your race card is over the credit limit.)
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To: stainlessbanner
No, I wrote that response and all other responses specifically to the poster in question.

But nice job trying to impugn my postings. I happen to know a bit about the subject, unlike some folks who comment on it.

29 posted on 11/23/2010 12:59:09 PM PST by dirtboy
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To: burghguy

Can you give me a source for the production numbers you cited for a Marcellus well? All I have seen is a chart here:

http://www.rigzone.com/news/article.asp?a_id=99414

And I see PA state is releasing production data here, which I haven’t gone through yet:

http://www.marcellusreporting.state.pa.us/OGREReports/Modules/Production/ProductionHome.aspx

There was also a recent FR discussion on the Marcellus here:

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2617260/posts

I don’t doubt what you are saying, I would just like to see what your sources are for my own education.


30 posted on 11/23/2010 1:14:55 PM PST by epithermal
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To: lacrew
I think some oil extraction involves pumping water in, just to displace the oil...but I don’t know for sure.

That is called secondary recovery and is used after depletion of the natural formation pressure and there is no longer enough pressure to move the oil to the well bore for pumping to the surface. The fluid, usually naturally-occuring saltwater from the drilled formation, is injected under pressure into the producing formation to cause the oil to move toward the production well(s) where it can be brought to the surface.

Once at the surface, the water is separated from the oil in order to re-use it to maintain the production cycle.

31 posted on 11/23/2010 1:21:01 PM PST by T-Bird45 (It feels like the seventies, and it shouldn't.)
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To: Enchante
The Michigan Utica/Collingwood formation is thought to be very similar to the PA Marcellus formation. The Marcellus is VERY prolific and return on investment makes it now the hottest area for exploration in the U.S. The leasing in Michigan ran the usual route of ‘hot plays’ after a well in Pioneer Township, Missaukee County, Michigan was drilled and proved to be commercial. Immediately after the announced discovery and within one and one half years thereafter, leasing prices went from $25/ac to $2000/ac and just as suddenly as it started, it quit. The EnCana/Chesapeake groups along with Michigan small independents ran through their budgets and thousands of offers to lease were pulled from the table thus leaving many landowners complaining.

After budgets were spent and with satisfactory leasing positions acquired, the oil companies await the results of three test wells now being drilled. If these wells reasonably ‘prove’ the theory that Michigan is another PA, then...BANG, the leasing will start up again while in the mean time, smaller oil companies will be out trying to lease for reduced prices hoping the test wells are productive. It is always exciting to see a 'play' evolve. Be Good RossB

32 posted on 11/23/2010 1:37:33 PM PST by RossB
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To: MichCapCon

Good Lord No! This is the absolute last thing we need to do here in Michigan. As much as we need jobs and the related economic boost they provide this is not the approach we should be taking.


33 posted on 11/23/2010 2:48:05 PM PST by in the wind
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To: lacrew

I don’t watch CSI, I hate fictional cop tv shows.

I was watching a documentary that was interviewing multiple farm families.


34 posted on 11/23/2010 3:16:00 PM PST by Secret Agent Man (I'd like to tell you, but then I'd have to kill you.)
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To: AdmSmith; Arthur Wildfire! March; Berosus; bigheadfred; ColdOne; Convert from ECUSA; Delacon; ...

Thanks MichCapCon.
..much of the natural gas is found in deep shale formations several thousand feet below the earth's surface. Geologists have known for years that the natural gas was there, but no one knew how to economically recover it. That has changed with the use of modern hydraulic fracturing technology combined with horizontal drilling techniques.

35 posted on 11/23/2010 4:16:21 PM PST by SunkenCiv (The 2nd Amendment follows right behind the 1st because some people are hard of hearing.)
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To: Secret Agent Man

Here is a link to a transcript of a senate hearing, in which Inhofe asks EPA, USGS, and others...’any documented cases of groundwater contamination?’.

The answer - no

http://epw.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Minority.PressReleases&ContentRecord_id=70289be8-802a-23ad-479d-ca2d6f6b36cd&Region_id=&Issue_id

I remember when everybody was dying of toxic mold...then all the insurance companies re-wrote their policies to exclude mold. Presto...no more toxic mold headlines. I see this as very similar. Alot of people make noise about this, and its potential problems...but nobody can cite a case where it actually happened.


36 posted on 11/23/2010 4:21:33 PM PST by lacrew (Mr. Soetoro, we regret to inform you that your race card is over the credit limit.)
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To: dirtboy

enjoyed this information. My company did a lot of work,
site prep, access roads and a guess helping setup, as we had
to keep machines and operators on site 24hrs final 2 or 3
days of jobs. We were doing these for an Alabama contractor
that had done water wells. Supt was a friend of my Dad and
had worked for a friend of mine before going to work for this
company. I guess they were installing the conductor casings.
I never went to sites. This was in late 80’s before crush
of drilling starting in 1990, in west central Alabama.


37 posted on 11/23/2010 4:53:04 PM PST by TweetEBird007
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To: dirtboy

Follow up on previous reply. They were drilling around
underground coal mines to help relieve gas problems,
I think.


38 posted on 11/23/2010 5:21:25 PM PST by TweetEBird007
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