What is Non-Hydraulic Fracturing
Non-hydraulic fracturing is the process of fracturing rock at depth without the use of fluid pressure. Non-hydraulic fracturing, also called non-hydraulic fracking or dry fracturing, is designed to be less energy-intensive and avoids the use of water in the drilling process. The primary reasons for the development of this technology is to reduce pollution and to improve energy efficiency of the drilling process.
What is Fracking?
BREAKING DOWN Non-Hydraulic Fracturing
While non-hydraulic fracturing does not use liquids, hydraulic fracturing uses liquids to create fissures and breaks in rock formations. This can be an expensive and capital-intensive operation because installations capable of producing and delivering the appropriate chemicals have to be located near the well. The production of the required chemicals uses significant amounts of energy, and the liquids injected into the bore have to be treated. Additionally, in some operations large amount of groundwater has to be used.
Non-hydraulic fracturing is a developing technology and has yet to be deployed on a large scale. One method of non-hydraulic fracturing involves using natural gas as the fracturing medium. The gas is compressed at the drill site and is then injected into the well to fracture rock formations. In order to keep fissures open, pressure must either be increased or maintained.
Drawbacks and advantages of non-hydraulic fracturing
Fracking in general has received a lot of criticism, especially for environmental conservationists. Public outcry surrounding hydraulic fracturing has primarily centered on the use of water in the production process. In some cases, groundwater could be contaminated by the chemicals used in the drilling process if chemicals were to breach containment areas or the walls of the well. The waste water that results from the drilling process can also be contaminated by chemicals or with oil or natural gas. This also has the undesirable effect of mixing the fracking fluids with the oil or natural gas, which can make the materials difficult and expensive to separate.
By undertaking a dry process instead, non-hydraulic fraction can reduce the possibility of produced water in theory. Non-hydraulic fracturing may allow oil and natural gas exploration in freezing and sub-freezing climes where the water used in traditional hydraulic fracturing is likely to be frozen.
Recent fracking developments, especially overseas, have been focused on creating fracking regulations and working with environmental experts, as well promoting public education and raising awareness about the benefits that fracking could have, such as creating jobs and maintain energy security especially in a volatile market.