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The Course Date Methane Hydraulic Fracturing Introduction Hydraulic fracturing technique, used by the gas and oil industry, entails the use of high hydraulic pressures to initiate a fracture. The process focuses on improving the production efficiency of coalbed methane and oil wells…
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Download file to see previous pages During this process, water becomes produced first from the fractures present within the coal. This process continues until the pressure declines to the level where methane would begin to desorb from the coal surrounding substance itself. The extent of the coalbed fracture stays controlled by the characteristics of the geologic formation, the fluid used in fracturing, and the pressure employed in pumping. The distance at which the fracturing would be performed also comprises geological formation characteristics. The ability for a fracture to grow taller or longer would be determined by the material goods of the surrounding rock. A hydraulically generated fracture would take the route of least resistance through the surrounding rock formations and coal seams (EPA Chapter 1; 3-4). Studies by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Marcellus Shale Team, and the Energy Institute have clearly confirmed the effectiveness of present-day state regulations in protecting water resources. This research paper positions itself to supporting that methane hydraulic fracturing fluids into coalbed wells pose a minimal threat to underground drinking water sources. Discussion EPA conducted a research study into evaluating the impacts of hydraulic fracturing of coalbed methane to underground sources of drinking water. The study employed a methodology covering hydraulic fracturing processes and potential incidents of water quality associated with the process. Also, the methodology would determine hazardous constituents contained in hydraulic fracturing additives and fluids as well as identification of coalbed methane basins hydrogeology. The approach employed a detailed and extensive collection of reviews and information of theoretical and empirical data. EPA also reviewed cases of underground drinking water contamination alleged to have resulted from the injection of methane hydraulic fracturing fluids into coalbed methane beds (EPA Chapter 2; 2). Methane hydraulic fracturing fluids include foamed gels, acids, potassium chloride water and clear water, cross or linear linked gels and a combined treatment of any two or more of these fluids. On the other hand, hydraulic additives include biocides, friction reducers, breakers, acid corrosion inhibitors and fluid loss additives (EPA Chapter 4; 2-8). Their findings on water quality incidents reflected data from formal studies, in addition to the opinions of, residents living near coalbed methane sites namely Black Warrior, Powder River Basins, San Juan and Central Appalachian. Incidences of contamination could be attributed to common production activities such as surface discharge of fracturing and production fluids, and methane migration through fracturing and drilling made outlets. In addition, contamination could arise from improperly abandoned production well, aquifer dewatering and poorly installed or sealed production wells. Moreover, natural factors, resource development, historical practices and population growth also constitute potential sources of contamination to drinking water. However, the follow-up outcomes of the study concluded that underground drinking water sources could not be contaminated by hydraulic fracturing. According to EPA, the production of ground water would minimize the likelihood that chemicals contained in fracturing fluids could impact negatively on underground drink ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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