The following video answers the question… what is fracking? It looks at sources of energy in the UK including shale gas and oil, the location of deposits, and the hydraulic fracturing and extraction process, otherwise known as fracking.
What is Fracking?
Natural gas provides1/3 of all the energy consumed in the UK – it is used by industry for cooking and heating homes and by power stations for the generation of electricity. Currently half that gas has to be imported and forecasts suggest that figure will rise to more than 60 percent by 2025.
Where are the UK’s Shale Gas & Oil Deposits?
One domestic option is shale gas and oil; deposits are known to exist in the north of England – the weald basin in Sussex and Surrey and the southwest and central belt of Scotland.
Underground Extraction Process
Shale gas and oil occur naturally in a layer of impermeable rock around a mile underground. Extracting the gas and oil involves a four stage process and at every stage potential operators must get consent from independent regulators and public consultation must take place.
Potential operators in the UK are currently at the first stage – exploration. Once companies have consent they are allowed to explore supplies at approved sites to find out how much gas and oil could be extracted commercially.
A typical exploration site starts with construction of a well pad it may contain porta-cabins for staff living quarters., offices, water and waste storage and processing facilities. During drilling – there will also be a drilling rig.
The entire site is around one to two hectares, the size of 1 to 2 football pitches. Operators use the process of hydraulic fracturing also known as fracking to help the extraction of the gas and oil supplies deep underground. Otherwise operations are similar to other on-shore oil and gas extraction.
The Process of Hydraulic Fracturing or Fracking
Fracking is a nickname, a shortened name for hydraulic fracturing. What you basically do is drill a hole into the shell vertical for a while going down and then it becomes horizontal far below the surface and you pump high pressure fluid – a mixture of water and some chemicals into the shell cracking the rock. These fractures are opened up by the high pressure and what you do is you put tiny particles, usually sand in these holes or these cracks and that is known and proppant and that sand keeps the cracks open. So the gas flows out of the cracks into the well.
Of course what first comes out isn’t generally gas – it’s the fluid that you have pumped down the well and then the gas starts coming out.
If exploration is successful operators can then apply to begin the pre production stage – during pre production more wells will be drilled on the same site and more equipment, water and chemicals are transferred to and from the site.
Operators then apply for the next stage, production. During this stage the oil is sent into a binary and the gas can be connected to pipelines or tankered away.
The final stage of the process is decommissioning. Operators make the well safe for abandonment and must restore the site to its original condition.
What is shale gas? – Department of Energy & Climate Change
World-Class Energy Efficient Solutions for Industry
Contact Water Treatment Services today to discuss your energy and resource optimisation requirements. We can provide expert energy efficiency solutions to help you reduce energy costs, improve efficiencies, optimise waste management processes and improve your environmental performance.
With offices in London serving the South and South East England, Manchester (North West), Birmingham (Midlands), Bristol (South East England and Wales), Leeds (North and North East) and Glasgow (Scotland), supported by regional teams of process engineers, in-field specialists and technical experts we can offer innovative energy optimisation solutions to organisations throughout the UK and Ireland.
Contact us now for more information.
More information about fracking and the process of hydraulic fracturing for shale gas and oil … here →