What is in a fracking well?

Solapas principales

What is in a fracking well? 

A fracking well, also known as a hydraulic fracturing well, is a type of oil or gas well that utilizes the process of hydraulic fracturing to extract natural resources from deep within the Earth's crust.

Fracking involves injecting a high-pressure fluid mixture into the wellbore to create fractures or fissures in the rocks surrounding the well. These fractures allow oil or gas to flow more freely and be extracted more efficiently.

Here is a description of the components and processes involved in a typical fracking well:

  1. Drilling: The process begins with drilling a vertical wellbore, which extends deep into the ground, often reaching thousands of feet below the surface. Once the vertical section is drilled, the wellbore is then curved to create a horizontal section that can extend horizontally for a considerable distance within the target rock formation.

  2. Well Casing: Steel casing pipes are inserted into the drilled wellbore to reinforce and protect it from collapse. Multiple layers of cement are then pumped into the annular space between the casing and the wellbore walls to provide further support and prevent the migration of fluids between different geological layers.

  3. Perforation: Once the casing is in place, small holes or perforations are made in the horizontal section of the casing and the surrounding cement to allow the fracking fluid to access the target rock formation.

  4. Fracturing Fluid Injection: A mixture of water, sand, and various chemical additives, known as fracking fluid, is then injected into the wellbore at extremely high pressures. The water serves as the primary carrier fluid, while the sand, or proppant, helps keep the fractures open by propping them apart. The chemical additives assist in reducing friction, preventing corrosion, and controlling bacterial growth, among other functions.

  5. Fracture Propagation: The pressurized fracking fluid flows into the perforations and initiates the creation of fractures in the target rock formation. The fractures propagate through the rock, extending several hundred feet in length.

  6. Fracture Fluid Recovery: Once the fractures are created, the pressure is reduced, allowing the fracking fluid to flow back to the surface. The fluid that returns to the surface is called flowback and consists of the injected fluid, along with naturally occurring fluids from the well, such as formation water and hydrocarbons.

  7. Production: After the flowback stage, the fracking fluid is mostly recovered, and the fractures remain open due to the proppant. This allows oil or gas to flow more freely from the rock formation into the wellbore. The well is then connected to production equipment, such as separators and storage tanks, to collect and process the extracted resources.

The fracking operations are subject to various regulations and environmental considerations to ensure the safe extraction of natural resources and to mitigate potential environmental impacts. The specifics of fracking well design and operations can vary depending on the geological characteristics of the target formation, local regulations, and industry practices.

One of the most questioned situations of fracking from the environmental point of view is the contamination and danger to health and the environment that fracking fluids represent. That is why our company has successfully developed and tested various sustainable additives that are used in fracking fluids. These green and sustainable additives are made from plant extracts and provide identical and/or similar functions to the fluids currently in use, but with the advantage that they are totally biodegradable and take care of the environment.

Please visit the specific pages for more information about our green portfolio of fracking additives.