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UK Shale Fracking


Quiz Questions

1.The shale gas is extracted via a well. This is drilled vertically to above the shale, then the drill is steered until it is horizontal and drilling continues. This is because the reservoirs are wider than they are tall, so horizontal drilling accesses more of the reserve. To allow the gas to flow, fractures have to be created in the rock. This is done by hydraulic fracturing (fracking). Fluid (approximately 99-99.5% water and sand, 0.5-1% chemicals) is injected down the well and into the shale gas rocks at high pressure. The sand props open the new fractures allowing the gas to flow into the well and be collected at the surface.
True
False
2. a company with a license for exploration and production cannot drill for shale gas (or Coal Bed Methane) without first getting planning permission and approval from the appropriate regulators
True
False
3.In the diagram in page 5 , risk number 7 is:
Risk of explosion
Risk of leakage from improperly treated produced water and fracking fluid from flow back into the soil and water table
4.Exploitation of shale gas in the UK could have a major impact on the investment in _______________needed to decarbonize the energy sector.
Renewable energy
Coal
5.Fracking is a water-intensive activity which could result regional problems. For example, the Cuadrilla drilling near Blackpool is within the River Wyre catchment – the Environment Agency identifies that all zones in the catchment are classified as either ‘over licensed’, ‘over abstracted’ or ‘no water available’
True
False
6.There is considerable evidence of contamination from both methane and fracking chemicals. One study of aquifers overlying the Marcellus and Utica shales in the north-eastern US found “systematic evidence of methane contamination of groundwater associated with shale gas extraction
True
False
7.How much of the water pumped down the well comes back to the surface (known as ‘produced water’ or ‘waste water’) can vary from 20% to 80%, depending on the local circumstances.

This means that 20-80% of the water also remains underground and “once underground, fracking fluid mixes with the naturally occurring brines and is subject to geological forces and chemical processes over the long term, from years to decades. How far and how fast this blend can travel, and how it might change chemically, is impossible to know and control”

True
False
8.Methane and fracking fluid may escape / contaminate water via a number of different routes:

  • Migration down naturally occurring fractures in the rock or via extension of fractures created by fracking or via nearby abandoned wells
  • Leaks via well-casings that have been inadequately completed or which have subsequently failed
  • Leaks or spills of fracking fluid or ‘produced water’ above ground
True
False
9.Encouraged by developments over the last decade in the US, the shale gas industry is looking to expand across the world, with Europe, South Africa, India and China being prime focal points. In most of these places, the industry is facing stiff opposition.
True
False
10.In Western Europe, the parliament in France has passed a law banning fracking, despite the potential for considerable reserves. Public opposition is growing in Spain, with the Cantabria region coming out against fracking. In Germany, the federal government is reported to be concerned, and there is also concern in regions including North-Rhine Westphalia and Thuringia. In Holland, fracking is on hold pending further studies, expected to start this year, and opposition is strong. There is interest in fracking and a growing anti-fracking movement in Ireland and Sweden.

In Eastern Europe, Poland is being targeted as a key development area, but initial results have been disappointing. Fracking was banned in Bulgaria in 2012 following widespread protests. Proposals for fracking in Romania have faced widespread protests and there are also considerable reserves in Ukraine.

True
False