Despite our Texas Railroad Commissioners’ attempts to claim that federal regulation under the FRAC Act would violate state’s rights, it’s simply not true. It’s nothing but propaganda. The truth can be found here:
Hydraulic Fracture: The Truth About State versus Federal Regulation
In Texas, our regulators hold up the cementing requirements and attempt to call that “good enough” for regulating hydraulic fracturing. But this document from industry blows holes in that extra special Texas cement job. Please note that Halliburton contributed to the findings.
Life Cycle Modeling of Wellbore Cement Systems Used for Enhanced Geothermal System Development
This whole document deals with problems maintaining wellbore integrity so geothermal energy won’t escape from the wellbore cracks caused by stresses from hydraulic fracturing, shrinking cement, temperature and pressure changes, movement of the earth and corrosive elements found in the formations. It’s the same technology used in natural gas development.
In light of the recent news that the Barnett Shale does contain H2S gas, I found these sentences from page one of particular interest.
The acid fluids formed from wet C02 and H2S can attack or move through the cement sheath, which eventually can corrode the casing from the outside in, jeopardizing the integrity of the wellbore. Hydraulic stimulation combined with thermal cycling for thermal stimulation may stress the cement further than the limits of its strength, allowing acid fluids to attack the casing sooner.
The conclusion states that eliminating cement shrinkage can “help reduce the risk of failure.” It does not say eliminate the risk of failure. Please note the bullet points in the conclusion:
- Conventional cement without compensation for shrinkage has a high risk of failure during all phases of well operation.
- When hydration volume reduction was compensated, without significantly modifying the mechanical properties, the risk of damage to the cement sheath was significantly lower than the conventional cement. However, the performance was not as good as foamed TRC cement.
- The injection phase of this well, in which 120°F (49°C) water is injected for cooling, appears to pose the greatest risk of causing damage to the cement sheath.
- Increasing the tensile strength of conventional cement without compensation for shrinkage can provide little improvement on the risk of failure.
90% of all oil and gas wells in the United States undergo hydraulic fracture. It’s widely used across the entire country so it should be regulated federally.
Please contact your representative and ask them to cosponsor the FRAC Act. We do not yet have a Texas cosponsor. The FRAC Act allows states to be the primary regulators, although their program would have to be approved by EPA. The FRAC Act leaves states a lot of flexbility.
For more information see: OGAP
About Sharon Wilson
Sharon Wilson is considered a leading citizen expert on the impacts of shale oil and gas extraction. She is the go-to person whether it’s top EPA officials from D.C., national and international news networks, or residents facing the shock of eminent domain and the devastating environmental effects of natural gas development in their backyards.
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I doubt their claims of "Federal regulations by the FRAC Act would violate State's rights" would hold up in Court at all. Texas has to follow EPA Clean air rules (at least on Paper!). Texas has to follow the Federal Highway rules, FAA air traffic rules, FCC radio/TV rules, ICC trucking rules, US Banking rules, FTC Ad rules, etc., etc.
I don't think they can reasonably separate this issue from other Federal rules.
So that I understand…There is poison H2S gas in these formations and we are worried about poluting it with frac fluids?