HYDRAULIC FRACKING: ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS, PERMITS, AND PERMITTING PROCESS Chandra Theegala, PhD, PE Professor Biological & Agricultural Engineering LSU & LSU AgCenter Kura Bhaskar, PhD, PE Professor & Interim Chair Associate Dean – Program Dev. Civil & Environmental Engineering University of New Orleans Acknowledgements Assistance received by Ms. Poojitha Aleti, who is a graduate student at UNO in Civil & Environmental Engineering Department is acknowledged. Outline • Hydraulic Fracking – Process • Environmental Impacts • Environmental Permits and Process http://www2.epa.gov/sites/production/files/documents/hf_study_plan_110211_final_508.pdf HYDRAULIC FRACKING - PROCESS POROSITY & PERMEABILITY Key Parameters for Oil & Gas Exploration Porosity Permeability Open Pores Space = ------------------------ x 100 Total Rock Volume The permeability of a rock is a measure of the resistance to the flow of a fluid through a rock. Example: Sandstone 8% porosity, mean 8% open space for oil, gas, water, air. Units of Permeability = millidarcy SANDSTONE Vs. SHALE PERMEABILITY Sandstone Porosity – High Permeability - High Shale Porosity – Very High Permeability – Very Low TRADITIONAL AND NEW RESOURCES Advances in Directional Drilling HYDRAULIC FRACTURING Increase permeability by fracturing the low-permeability oil formations to stimulate oil and gas production. Through injection of water, permeable sand, chemicals at high pressure into a gas or oil well. Injected proppants (sand) – keeps the fractures open when pressure is released. This assists in long term yield. HYDRAULIC FRACTURING RELATED FACTS According to EPA 2 to 5 million gallons of water are required to fracture a single well. Typically injection 90% water 10% sand (~300,000 lbs of proppant) 0.05% chemical additives Among water used 63% - From rivers, streams. 20% - Public water systems. 15% - Recycled fluid. 02% - proppants and chemicals. Proppants are sand material that keeps bed rock fractures open to allow gas to flow out HYDRAULIC FRACTURING RELATED FACTS Shale runs horizontal – so directional drilling and “laterals” are key to oil & gas extraction Laterals - 1,500-5,000 ft in Barnett Shale, Texas - up to 10,000 ft in Bakken formation, ND Injection pressure up to 100 Mpa (15,000 psi) Injection rate up to 9.4 cu ft/s (100 barrels/min) CHEMICALS USED More than 750 chemical components are used in the hydraulic fracturing products injected underground between 2005 and 2009. Chemicals are selected based upon their advantages. Fluid viscosity manipulation critical for proppant transport and oil/gas extraction (gels and cross-linkers) A few chemical categories, their purpose, and select chemicals are shown in the following slides: Additive (Chemical Category) Purpose Acid Helps dissolve minerals and initiate cracks in the rock Acid/Corrosion Inhibitor Protects casing from corrosion Base Carrier Fluid (Water) Create fracture geometry and suspend prop pant Breaker Allows a delayed breakdown of gels when required Clay and Shale stabilization/Control Temporary or permanent clay stabilizer to lock down clays in the shale structure Cross linker Maintain viscosity as temperature increases Friction Reducer Reduces Friction effects over Base water in pipe http://fracfocus.org/chemical-use Additive (Chemical Category) Purpose Gel Thickens the water in order to suspend the proppant Iron chelating agent that helps prevent precipitation of metal oxides Used to break or separate oil/water mixtures (emulsions) Maintains the effectiveness of other additives such as cross linkers Keeps Fractures open allowing for hydrocarbon production Prevent scale in pipe and formation Iron Control Non-Emulsifier pH Adjusting Agent/Buffer Propping Agent Scale Inhibitor Surfactant Biocide http://fracfocus.org/chemical-use Reduce surface tension of the treatment fluid in the formation and helps improve fluid recovery from the well after the frac is completed Eliminates bacteria in the water that can cause corrosive by products CHEMICALS REPEATING IN MANY COMPOUNDS Chemical Number of Products that Contain Specified Chemical (on the left) Methanol 342 Isopropanol 274 Crystalline silica 207 Ethylene glycol monobutyl ether 126 Ethylene glycol 109 Hydro treated light petroleum distillates 89 Sodium hydroxide 80 ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS SIGNIFICANT ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS • Water – Major • Air – Due to combustion and transport activities • Solid / Hazardous Wastes - Due to chemicals transported, stored and handled Health Effects Due to Chemicals Used in Hydraulic Fracking • Congenital heart defects. • Sinus problems, eye burning, severe headaches, persistent cough and skin rashes. • Hemolysis (destruction of red blood cells). • Damage to the spleen, liver, and bone marrow. • High blood pressure, and nerve disorders IMPACT ON SURFACE WATER Three risks to drinking water that can occur on the surface. Depletion of water sources. Spills and leaks of fracking chemicals and fluids. Mismanagement of fracking waste. IMPACT ON GROUND WATER Four risks to drinking water that can occur below ground surface are related to: Well construction, cementing and casing. Out-of-zone growth. Neighboring oil and gas wells. Natural fracture networks. ENVIRONMENTAL PERMITS AND PROCESS Environmental Permits and Process • Federal • State ▫ General State Guidelines ▫ Pennsylvania ▫ Louisiana Certain Exemptions for Hydraulic Fracturing from Federal Environmental Laws*(as Per Energy Policy Act of 2005) • Clean Water Act: ▫ Regulates quality standards for surface water and provides structure for regulating discharges of pollutants into water . • Clean Air Act: ▫ Authorizes EPA to regulate air pollutant emissions and to protect public health and welfare. • Safe Drinking Water Act ▫ Statues regulating quality of water whether from ground or underground sources, that are potentially designed for human consumption. *William J. Brady and James P. Crannell. Exemptions (Contd..) • National Environmental Policy Act: ▫ Concerns about major environmental impacts of any federal action that significantly affects environment. • Resource Conservation and Recovery Act: ▫ Statute to regulate the generation, transportation, treatment, storage, and disposal of hazardous waste. • Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-know Act ▫ National Legislation designed to help communities protect public health, safety, and the environment from chemical hazards. Certain Exemptions/Clarifications • The CWA exempts stormwater discharges • Whereas, discharges resulting from construction activities are not exempt • Surface water discharges of flowback are regulated by the NPDES Certain Exemptions/Clarifications (..Contd.) • The underground injection of fluids and proppants (other than diesel) are excluded from UIC of the SDWA • Underground injection of flowback is regulated by the UIC program. • Oil and gas exploration and production activities are exempted from EPCRA. NRDC’s Efforts • NRDC urges the use of key management practices to minimize the risks associated with fracking activities. This includes: • Federal regulation of all hydraulic fracturing under the Safe Drinking Water Act • Regulation of toxic oil and gas waste under federal and state hazardous waste laws • Stronger standards and enforcement under the federal Clean Water Act and state laws. IOGCC’s Efforts • IOGCC - Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission • IOGCC member states have all stated that there have been no cases where hydraulic fracturing has been verified to have contaminated drinking water. • Member states of IOGCC passed a resolution in January 2009 Urging congress not to remove the exemption for Hydraulic Fracturing from the provisions of the safe drinking water act. • Each state has it’s own regulations regarding Hydraulic Fracturing Critical Disclosure Information for Permitting • Distance from well to aquifers. • Surface water drains. • Drinking water sources nearby. • Pressure, volume, type and source of the base fluid. • Source of the base fluid. Pennsylvania Regulations • Permit: Obtain permit from PA Department of Environmental Protection by submitting plan for construction and stimulation of fracking well. • Drilling distances: Gas drilling must not occur within 200 feet of drinking water supplies. • Water contamination: Drillers are responsible for contamination if it occurs within 1000 feet from the well and within 6 months after well completion. Pennsylvania Regulations (Contd.) • Ground water Contamination: State legislation requires drillers to report the quantity and chemical content of produced water created by well. • Produced water disposal: Limit on TDS in produced water before disposal is 2000 mg/L. • Well closing: The state requires drilling companies to plug wells after production ceases. • Surface disturbance: Pennsylvania requires the submission of an erosion and sedimentation plan to the DEP before drilling can begin. Louisiana regulations • Operator must obtain work permit from Louisiana department of natural resources(DNR) by submitting plan for construction and stimulation of fracking well. • Drilling permit must also be taken. • DNR requires well casings of different depths which depends on depth of well. • Flow back from hydraulic Fracturing must be stored in tanks or pits and are exempt from Louisiana hazardous waste regulations. Louisiana Regulations (Contd..) • Temporary containment pits must be closed within 6 months of well completion to protect soil and water. • Before closing the pits, their content must be tested for pH, heavy metals, oil and grease content. • Operator is responsible for handling and transportation of waste for disposal. • Operators must disclose the composition and volume of fracking fluids they use after completing the well.