Chimera Energy Corporation of Houston, Texas, has announced that they are licensing a new method for extracting oil and gas from shale fields: waterless fracking.
Hydraulic fracturing holds the potential of hundreds of years of energy at its core, but the technique isn’t without concerns about public safety and the environment. A major concern for fracking proponents is water pollution. Chimera claims it’s dry fracturing process is safe because it uses exothermic reactions instead of water to fracture shale.
Hydraulic fracturing is a method used by natural gas producers to extract more natural gas from a well by opening up rock formations using hydraulic or explosive force. Frack fluid is the water-based compound drillers use to fracture the shale. It’s composed of very large amounts of water mixed with any number of chemicals, plus sand. It is pumped into wells under very high pressure to break up underground rock formations, which in turn, releases natural gas. These frack fluids are part of a frack water lifecycle which encompasses the acquisition of water, chemical mixing of the fracturing fluid, injection of the fluid into the formation, the production and management of flowback and produced water, and the ultimate treatment and disposal of hydraulic fracturing wastewaters.
The main concern is that the fracking fluid pumped out after the process, may either leak the chemicals or sand in the fluid plus radioactive radon from the well into aquifer layers or that it will contaminate water supplies after pumping out.
Because of this, some firms have worked to develop alternatives to using frack fluid.
An example of this is a process used recently in New York State. The process uses gelled propane instead of fracking fluid. The purpose of using propane is that it reverts to a gas and can be pumped out, filtering any additives and leaving them behind in the well.
The Chimera process eliminates all liquids. Chimera Energy uses “dry fracturing” or “exothermic extraction.”
In a recent press release on BusinessWire the process was explained by Valdamar Perez Rios, a chemical engineer and director of Weis S.A. He announced scientific portions of the new process that differentiate it from any prior technology.
“The new non-hydraulic or exothermic extraction process does not use steam, LPG gel, natural gas or the pumping of anything hot into the well being used. The central operation in the process uses only inert elements. These elements are non-toxic or caustic in any way,” stated Rios. “In a typical well that would use this process, you have a vertical section and a horizontal section. The horizontal section is where most of the operation takes place. First, the horizontal well casing is perforated pneumatically. This allows the extraction process to reach the target area surrounding the casing. Depending on the size of the casing in the well, moveable pressure plugs are placed at optimum distances to segment the horizontal section and allow for engineered pressures.”
“Then Helium, beginning in its liquid state, is used to create the pressures needed to open up existing fractures and form new ones. Under exothermic control, Helium will increase in volume 757 times in transitioning from a liquid to gaseous form. With plentiful pressure available, engineering the segmenting distances multiply the effect. Helium is the 2nd most abundant element in the Universe and it is less water soluble than any other gas known. Helium’s diffusion rate through solids extremely high, negating the need for solvents in the process. Without disclosing the very unique Intellectual property of the Company, you can see that CHMR’s Non-Hydraulic Extraction is quite different than any other proposed process. It is as unique as the special properties of Helium itself. To see what I mean, you can go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Z6UJbwxBZI.”
Chimera Energy claims the process is compatible with any existing well in the world.
Learn more about Chimera’s process at: http://www.chimeraenergyusa.com/index.html.