I saw this news article earlier this week and I’m sure you did too: Debris from gas well falls from the sky
Magnum Hunter Resources Corporation was drilling for gas on Grays Knob mountain, a 4-inch ceramic ball, weighing approximately one pound was deflected into the Harlan ARH Hospital’s direction, making a hole in the ground approximately 6-inches wide and 5-inches deep.” He said the balls were supposed to be deflected toward the mountains and he felt it was an equipment malfunction which caused the ball to fall into a populated area. He said it was “just an odd coincidence.”
Holy smokes! Steven Spielberg couldn’t touch this! Being the curious type, I had to inquire. Being the entrepreneur, I envisioned a helmet for Gas Patch residents with bull’s eye targets painted on them. With the proceeds, I will retire to France.
Here’s what I gather from the smart people:
Smart person ONE:
It sounds like a ball-drop system, which is a technology used to isolate different parts of the well from one another to perform multi-stage fracs. The balls are dropped in the wellbore by an automated system and land in seats in predetermined parts of the wellbore. They should be returned to the surface by the flowing gas. How in the world it shot out the top is a mystery to me.
Smart person TWO:
Correct. And the device to catch the ball during flowback failed.
Smart person ONE again:
It depends on the system and type of completion but generally, when the ball lands in the seat, it isolates the portion of the well below the ball, i.e. the part of the well that has already been fracked. In the case where you’re using an uncemented production liner instead of production casing, when it lands it also opens a port in the liner above the ball so that part of the well can be fracked. The balls and seats get progressively larger in size as you move up the wellbore so you can drop multiple balls, and frac multiple stages. It’s an alternative to setting plugs or packers in the well to separate stages, eliminating the drill-out stage and making the completion quicker.
Here are some info sheets from Halliburton & Schlumberger
We’re always hearing this industry say how transparent they are. Raise your hand if you knew anything about the Big Gas Mafia’s balls.
Another smart person:
Their description of fracking was word for word from our [Earthworks’] web site.
That does take balls.
The fracking process occurs after a well has been drilled and steel pipe (casing) has been inserted in the well bore. The casing is perforated within the target zones that contain oil or gas, so that when the fracturing fluid is injected into the well it flows through the perforations into the target zones. Eventually, the target formation will not be able to absorb the fluid as quickly as it is being injected. At this point, the pressure created causes the formation to crack or fracture. Once the fractures have been created, injection ceases and the fracturing fluids begin to flow back to the surface. Materials called proppants (e.g., usually sand or ceramic beads), which were injected as part of the frack fluid mixture, remain in the target formation to hold open the fractures.
UPDATE: From freaky smart person:
1. schlumberger fact sheet: http://www.slb.com/~/media/
Files/completions/product_ sheets/mss/ball_drop_valve_ps. ashx
2. haliburton fact sheet: http://www.halliburton.com/
3. canada – spartan ppt (lots of pics) http://www.tight-oil-shale-
plays.com/media/downloads/ inline/albert-stark-spartan- exploration.1296438438.pdf
4. new tech JPT article i recommend reading the whole thing very carefully especially about multi-stage fracking (up to 100 frack stages), performance greater with open hole than with casing, 10,000 foot laterals, and using horizontal fracturing for all types of microdarcy formations, not just shale – http://www.packersplus.com/
5. baker hughes video on how ball drop system works: http://www.youtube.com/watch?
Added by special request: