Hydrofracker: There Isn’t Enough Carbon Dioxide
Posted at 4:44 p.m. on July 15, 2014
In a complexity of ironies, the shale industry is looking for more of a greenhouse gas to improve production from fractured wells.
“The oil industry would like to have more CO2,” said Robert Kleinberg, energy adviser for hydraulic fracturing firm Schlumberger, speaking at an Energy Information Agency conference Tuesday.
The boom that has extended U.S. reliance on gas may also provide a means of continuing coal use. Demand for carbon dioxide is a key aspect of the marketability of sequestration technologies, which will be needed to meet proposed EPA standards for new coal power plants.
Oil industry has been using liquefied carbon dioxide for years to enhance recovery from conventional wells and now producers are looking to use it to get more out of shale wells.
“Carbon dioxide is a magical fluid for oil recovery,” Kleinberg said. The only problem is there isn’t much of it available.
For various reasons, other tricks producers use on traditional wells don’t work in shale, leaving about 95 percent of oil in the formation.
The industry is also trying to figure out how to better prop open hydrofractures, which may extend for 1000 feet from a well leg but then mostly collapse because injected sand or other material only reaches out 300 feet, he said.