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Workshop on Offshore Well Completion and Stimulation

Posted By Mark Ellis, Wednesday, September 20, 2017

The National Academies Roundtable on Unconventional Hydrocarbon Development is hosting a public workshop on “Offshore well completion and stimulation using hydraulic fracturing and other technologies” on October 2-3 at the Keck Center of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine in Washington, DC.  They have an excellent line-up of speakers and welcome your participation.  Registration (in-person or webcast) information is available in the announcement appended below. 

Well completion and stimulation technologies to develop hydrocarbon resources offshore have evolved over decades. Onshore, hydraulic fracturing coupled with horizontal drilling has become a widely known technology due to the development of unconventional resources. However, less understood by the public are common well completion and stimulation technologies used in offshore operations.

This free, public workshop will explore the unique features of operating in the U.S. offshore environment, including well completion and stimulation technologies, environmental considerations and concerns, and safety management.

The audience and speakers from across government, industry, academic, and non-profit sectors will share information and their perspectives on operational, regulatory, and research approaches to minimize risk in developing offshore resources.

To view the workshop agenda, please click here.

The registration link below is for both in-person and webcast participation.

Register today!

Tags:  hydraulic fracturing  National Academies of Sciences  offshore well completion  offshore will stimulation 

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IMA-NA Addresses Trump's Energy Transition Team

Posted By Ariel Hill-Davis, Thursday, December 15, 2016

IMA-NA participated in an "Energy Listening Session" hosted by the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) with senior members of the Trump Transition Team responsible for energy issues.  IMA-NA President Mark Ellis addressed the group during the oil and natural gas session.  After introducing IMA-NA, he addressed the importance of industrial minerals in the hydraulic fracturing process, referencing silica sand, barite and bentonite.  These minerals are essential components of the hydraulic fracturing itself and in the drilling muds used during well development.  He stressed the importance of infrastructure to move the mineral products to the well site and then to move the oil and gas to refineries.  Finally, he advised the transition team that local restrictions on frac sand production were an apparent end-run effort to restrict hydraulic fracturing generally and that the incoming administration should work to ensure that the mineral resources necessary to enable energy development are not unduly regulated.

Tags:  energy  frac sand  fracking  hydraulic fracturing  silica  transition team  Trump 

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EPA Releases Study on the Impacts of Hydraulic Fracturing on Drinking Water

Posted By Ariel Hill-Davis, Thursday, December 15, 2016

On Tuesday, the EPA released its long-awaited final report evaluating the available scientific literature and data to assess the potential for activities in the hydraulic fracturing water cycle to impact the quality or quantity of drinking water resources.  It also identified factors that affect the frequency and severity of those impacts.  While EPA found scientific evidence that hydraulic fracturing can impact drinking water resources under some circumstances, it implicitly found that it did not in other circumstances. The final report deviates from the first version, which stated unequivocally that there was "no evidence that fracking systemically contaminates water". Thomas A. Burke, the E.P.A.’s science adviser, and deputy assistant administrator of the agency’s Office of Research and Development, addressed the change by stating EPA scientists couldn't quantitatively support the former conclusion.  Mr. Burke did go on to highlighting the data gaps and uncertainties that existed in the study which limited its ability to fully assess the potential impacts on drinking water resources and could not fully characterize the severity of impacts. Additionally, EPA stated it could neither calculate nor estimate the national frequency of impacts on drinking water resources. 

It's important to note that the report will contribute to the conversation surrounding the incoming Administration's stated policy to decrease regulations and increase investment in natural gas development and hydraulic fracturing. 

Additional information on the 666-page final report can be accessed through this link.

Tags:  administration  EPA  fracking  hydraulic fracturing  Regulations  study 

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Final Rule on Hydraulic Fracturing Released

Posted By Ariel Hill-Davis, Friday, March 20, 2015

The U.S. Department of the Interior's Bureau of Land Management (BLM) released its final rule on the use of hydraulic fracturing to recover oil and natural gas on federal and Indian lands.  The BLM originally published a proposed in on May 11, 2012, but given significant public interest it published a supplemental notice and request for comments on May 24, 2013.  While the final rule has yet to be published in the Federal Register, an advance copy is available for viewing here. The final rule will become effective 90 days after publication in the Federal Register.

According to the final rule, the rule "fulfills the goals of the initial proposed rule:  To ensure that wells are properly constructed to protect water supplies, to make certain that the fluids that flow back to the surface as a result of hydraulic fracturing operations are managed in an environmentally responsible way, and to provide public disclosure of the chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing fluids.  The rule also:  (1) Improves public awareness of where hydraulic fracturing has occurred and the existence of other wells or geologic faults or fractures in the area, as well as communicates what chemicals have been used in the fracturing process; (2) Clarifies and strengthens existing rules related to well construction to ensure integrity and address developments in technology; (3) Aligns requirements with state and tribal authorities with regard to water zones that require protection; and (4) Provides opportunities to coordinate standards and processes with individual states and tribes to reduce costs, increase efficiencies, and promote the development of more stringent standards by state and tribal governments."

"Key changes to the final rule include:  (1) The allowable use of an expanded set of cement evaluation tools to help ensure that usable water zones have been isolated and protected from contamination; (2) Replacement of the "type well" concept to demonstrate well integrity with a requirement to demonstrate well integrity for all wells; (3) More stringent requirements related to claims of trade secrets exempt from disclosure; (4) More protective requirements to ensure that fluids recovered during hydraulic fracturing operations are contained; (5) Additional disclosure and public availability of information about each hydraulic fracturing operation; and (6) Revised records retention requirements to ensure that records of chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing operations are retained for the life of the well."

"The final rule also provides opportunities for the BLM to coordinate standards and processes with individual states and tribes to reduce administrative costs and to improve efficiencies."

The House and Senate Republicans have already come out in opposition to BLM's final rule. The GOP stance is this new rule will stifle the boom in energy development in the United States and create unnecessary costs for energy companies.

Relatedly, Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) introduced S. 828 yesterday, to clarify that a state has the sole authority to regulate hydraulic fracturing on federal land within the boundaries of the state.  Neither a summary nor the text of the bill are available at this time.  The bill was referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resource.

According to the Wall Street Journal, federal lands account for about 11% of the natural gas and 5% of the oil that the U.S. consumes.  The Journal notes that drilling on private or state-owned lands won't be subject to the regulations.  However, part of the federal government's goal is to create national standards for hydraulic fracturing that states and companies can adopt.  The Journal reports that some analysts feel the rules won't be unduly burdensome, perhaps contributing less than 0.5% to average well costs.

Tags:  BLM  Congress  DOI  energy  fracking  hydraulic fracturing  natural gas  Regulations 

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