The terms “fracking” and “environmentally friendly” just don’t seem to go together, but there is one case where they just might.
Hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, is a process where high-pressure chemically treated water is used to crack rock formations in order to release oil and gas. For environmentalists, this is a process that isn’t environmentally friendly, and in most cases, hazardous to your health. It consumes a lot of fresh water and creates lots of toxic waste, which adds to the greenhouse gas burdens.
But now, a company called GasFrac is out to chang all of that. James Hill, the CEO of the company, has come up with a new fracking method that doesn’t use any water at all. Instead, GasFrac uses a propane gel, which is a hydrocarbon that is already naturally present underground, and other non-toxic chemicals, such as ferric sulfate and magnesium oxide. Essentially, this is the use of hydrocarbons to produce hydrocarbons.
So far, GasFrac has used this process 2,500 times in 700 wells across Canada and the U.S.
This innovative technology could help reduce some of the environmental problems caused by fracking. This water-free method could help make the oil industry just a bit more environmentally safe.
An Eco-Friendly Fracking Trend?
It looks like the Oil & Gas industry is finally paying attention to environmentalists, as several companies are working on extraction procedures that cause less damage to the environment.
Besides GasFrac, other giants in the oil industry, like Haliburton, GE and others are looking for better technologies and improvements to use recycled frack water, or non-potable brine, instead of current methods. Other innovations include the replacement of harsh chemicals, diesel-powered drilling equipment with solar equipment or gas powered equipment.
All of these efforts are winning some support from environmentalists, especially those that think getting to a more sustainable world means reducing the consequences of environmentally dangerous fossil fuel practices. It would be interesting to see a combined environmental consciousnous, where the use of alternative energies increases and the current Oil & Gas giants look for alternative environmental processes that would make the industry cleaner, thereby eliminating many of the current green house effects.