Photo: Marathon via YouTube
Marathon Oil has a great animation on the basics of hydraulic fracturing or “fracking.” (We found it thanks to Mark Perry’s blog.)Intended for novices, it explains how horizontal drilling works and explains the roles of water and sand.
Not surprisingly, the video doesn’t spend much time on the controversies surrounding the environmental risks. That discussion is for another time.
For now, check out these key points from the animation that will help any novice speak more intelligently about fracking.
When the drill reaches the reservoir, it moves horizontally to allow for access to multiple wells from one drilling pad
Once the drilling is finished, a perforating gun is installed that fires through the casings and into the reservoir
The fluid is pumped into the wellbore and out through the perforations, creating fractures into the rock. This is why it's called hydraulic fracturing
The sand in the fluid remains in the fractures, which allows the oil and natural gas to flow to the wellbore easily
The entire fracturing process takes roughly three to five months. But the investment can result in a well that can produce for 20-40 years.
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