Hydraulic Fracturing

Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, has been used for more than sixty years to extract oil and natural gas deposits from tight rock formations that were once too difficult to produce. Hydraulic fracturing is a proven, traditional technology that involves drilling thousands of feet below the earth’s surface and groundwater supplies. Every well is protected with multiple layers of steel and cement casing and then a mixture of pressurized water, sand, and specially designed compounds is pumped into the formation creating tiny fissures in targeted areas of the source rock. These tiny fissures allow oil and natural gas to escape and flow up to the surface. In Colorado, the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) regulates the oil and gas industry and requires that all oil and natural gas producers disclose the chemicals and amount of water used in the process to FracFocus, a free, publicly accessible website.

Water Use

In 2012 COGA published Colorado oil and gas industry water usage facts, “Water Use Fast Facts”, which can be found at www.coga.org, under Fast Facts. In summary, the facts estimate water use for oil and gas development at 0.13% of Colorado’s total 2012 water use. That’s 6.5 billion gallons of water for the year at far less than one percent of all water use. These billions of gallons are compared with other users in the state and, despite being “billions” in number, they are the lowest of notable users, such as Irrigation (4497.5 billion gallons/year), Public Supply (315.4 billion gallons/year), and Mining (7.8 billion gallons/year ... Read More »

Colorado’s Hydraulic Fracturing Disclosure Rule

On December 13, 2011 Colorado regulators unanimously passed a Hydraulic Fracturing Disclosure Rule that requires comprehensive public disclosure of the chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing treatments. The rule represents a balanced compromise between industry and environmental groups, providing transparency while protecting proprietary information. According to Mark Brownstein, Chief Counsel of the Environmental Defense Fund’s energy program: “Colorado’s new regulation requires the most disclosure of any state in the country.” Read More »

Exciting as Space Exploration: The New Frontier of Oil & Gas Technology Innovations

Enjoy a good adventure story? The next frontier in innovation with revolutionary potential is in the energy business. Practices engineered decades ago are being refined with historical ramifications. These innovations have made inaccessible oil and gas resources now economically viable. This has implications for energy availability, security, affordability, and sustainability. Innovation is transforming exploration and production as we know it, with potential benefits for every aspect of our society. In this article, we highlight a few areas of exciting innovation in oil and gas exploration and production. Read More »

Hydraulic Fracturing Fluids- Exciting Clean and Green Developments

The fluid formulation is the rocket science behind hydraulic fracturing (HF). A subtle difference in formulation can make a huge difference in the effectiveness of the fracturing treatment in releasing oil and gas resources. The design of each HF process focuses on understanding the reservoir rock and subsurface conditions in order to design HF fluids that can optimize results. Particularly in new areas, such the emerging shale plays, HF optimization is an exciting area of discovery, imagination, development, and ultimately increasing degrees of success. Read More »

Q&A with Natalia Swalnick

COGA: What exactly does the Air Quality/Clean Cities Manager do? Natalia: The Denver Metro Clean Cities Coalition supports local practices to reduce petroleum consumption in the transportation sector. We work with private companies, public fleets, and other organizations to encourage the use of alternative fuels. The portfolio of technologies and vehicles that Clean Cities advances includes hybrids, fuel economy, fuel efficiencies, alternative fuels and vehicles, as well as idling equipment and programs. We are advancing the deployment of vehicles and infrastructure in tandem to create a market for alternative fuels. Read More »