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ERCB Hydraulic Fracturing Technical Briefing

ERCB Hydraulic Fracturing Technical Briefing

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Published by Trish Audette
On 22 February 2012, Alberta's Energy Resource Conservation Board offered members of the media a technical briefing, or background explainer, on hydraulic fracturing or "fracking." The briefing provided a basis for The Journal's story on Alberta's plans to make public information on fracking materials used at well sites: http://bit.ly/wMUSwO
On 22 February 2012, Alberta's Energy Resource Conservation Board offered members of the media a technical briefing, or background explainer, on hydraulic fracturing or "fracking." The briefing provided a basis for The Journal's story on Alberta's plans to make public information on fracking materials used at well sites: http://bit.ly/wMUSwO

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Published by: Trish Audette on Feb 27, 2012
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06/01/2014

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Hydraulic Fracturing

Technical Briefing

Cal Hill I February 2012

The Energy Resources Conservation Board (ERCB)
“A quasi-judicial, arms-length body created by the Alberta Government to ensure that the discovery, development and delivery of Alberta's energy resources take place in a manner that is fair, responsible and in the public interest”

Statistics

Alberta regulates a world-scale resource infrastructure
Producing Wells 176 211 Oil Sands 61 In Situ 154 Primary Recovery 20 Experimental Proj. 8 Mines * as of January 2011 5 facilities (240 000 m3/d cap.) 12 plants (32.2 106 tonne/yr) Pipelines 394 000 km Upgraders Gas Plants 955 (292 sour) Coal Mines

What is Hydraulic Fracturing?
Hydraulic fracturing is used to fracture a geological formation Fracturing operations typically occur between 650 and 3500 metres below surface The process allows oil or gas to flow The ERCB has over 60 years experience regulating hydraulic fracturing

Why is it Used?

Hydraulic Fracturing Types
Vertical wells with fracture stimulation Horizontal wells with multistage fracture stimulation

Horizontal Wells with Multi-stage Hydraulic Fracture Stimulation
In deep geological formations, horizontal, multi-stage fracturing operations are required to release resources Vertical wells turn horizontally typically between 650 and 3500 metres below surface Fractures occur within the horizontal section

Fracture Fluids

Fracturing fluids are pumped in the target formation under high pressure to force apart rock containing oil and/or gas Three components of fracture fluid 1. Carrier: (eg. water) 2. Proppant: (eg. sand) 3. Additive: (eg. friction reducer)

Fracture Fluids

The ERCB does not currently mandate the disclosure of fracture fluids Companies are required to provide fracture fluid information to the ERCB ERCB requires use of non-toxic fracture fluids above the base of groundwater protection

ERCB Regulations
Examples: - Directive 8: Surface Casing Depth Requirements - Directive 9: Casing Cementing Requirements - Directive 20: Well Abandonment - Directive 27: Shallow fracturing OperationsRestricted Operations - Directive 29: Energy and Utility Development Applications and the Hearing Process - Directive 31: Guidelines for the Energy Proceeding Cost Claims - Directive 35: Baseline Water Well Testing - Directive 38: Noise Control - Directive 44: Surveillance of Water Production in Hydrocarbon Wells - Directive 50: Drilling Waste Management - Directive 51: Injection and Disposal Wells - Directive 55: Storage Requirements - Directive 56: Energy Development Applications - Directive 58: Oilfield Waste Management Requirements for the Upstream Petroleum Industry - Directive 59: Well Drilling & Completion Data Filing Requirements

Visit www.ercb.ca

Hydraulic Fracturing and Groundwater Protection
ERCB regulations in place to protect Alberta’s water quality Hydraulic fracturing restricted within 200 metres of water wells
(ERCB Directive 27: Shallow fracturing Operations: Restricted Operations, ERCB Directive 35: Baseline Water Well Testing)

Well casing and cementing regulations
(ERCB Directive 8: Surface Casing Depth Requirements, ERCB Directive 9: Casing Cementing Requirements)

Well Casing and Cementing
Industry is require to abide by strict well casing regulations Specially designed cement along the entire length of the surface casing A second steel casing is cemented fully if surface casing does not extend below base of groundwater protection Casing and cement provide impenetrable barriers between fluids in the casing and any useable groundwater

Hydraulic Fracturing and Groundwater Protection
Regulations that govern the storage and disposal of waste fracture fluids
(ERCB Directive 50: Drilling Waste Management, ERCB Directive 51: Injection and Disposal Wells, ERCB Directive 55: Storage Requirements, ERCB Directive 58: Oilfield Waste Management for the Upstream Petroleum Industry)

Fluid Storage and Treatment
Comprehensive ERCB requirements guide waste fracture fluid handling and disposal at surface The ERCB strictly forbids the use of unlined storage pits as a means to store fluids at the surface Fluids not recycled or reused must be re-injected and stored in deep rock formations, far below groundwater sources

Interwellbore Communication
On January 23, 2012, the ERCB issued Bulletin 2012-02: Hydraulic Fracturing: Interwellbore Communication between Energy Wells The ERCB expects companies to maintain well control at all times Companies are required to prevent adverse effects on offset wellbores

Interwellbore Communication
Four confirmed incidents with no impact on groundwater or domestic water wells ERCB investigating each incident

Summary - HF

A completion technique designed to improve fluid flow through tight rock Horizontal wells using multistage HF technology target formations hundreds to thousands of meters below useable groundwater Direct contamination by fluids moving up fractures to groundwater has not been documented

Summary - HF

Effective wellbore construction requirements and practices necessary Effective fluid handling and disposal requirements and practices necessary

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