Let’s have a conversation about ‘fracking’
If you have been following the presidential race you are aware the topic of “fracking” has come up. My career started as an engineer with Halliburton. I designed frack jobs and was on the well site when they were pumped into the well. I gained a lot of experience in the oil and gas industry by the time I retired from Halliburton in 2007 after 33 years. I was going to be a motivational speaker and leadership trainer.
In 2007 the U.S. was in the “energy crisis”. We were running out of oil and gas. OPEC determined world oil prices. Gasoline sold for around $3 a gallon. LNG terminals were being built around the U.S. so we could import liquified natural gas from our “friends”, Russia and OPEC. Manufacturing jobs were leaving the U.S. for Asia. The U.S. had lost its energy advantage and Asia had cheap labor.
In 2007 the U.S. oil and gas industry understood the potential of shale gas. The technology was developing to extract it. I began to rethink my retirement. Energy was the biggest problem our country had. People had hope for wind and solar. Thirteen years later wind and solar account for just 10 percent of electric power generation. I realized I left the one industry that could have a positive impact on my family and our country’s future. I didn’t tell anyone I planned to come out of retirement. The next day a friend called looking for a sales manager for his drilling company. I was back in the industry until I retired for real in 2016. Now I work with Shale Crescent USA to bring high wage jobs to the region.
What is fracking? Hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” as the antis call it, is a process that happens to almost every oil or gas well after it is drilled and the casing is cemented. It requires pumping a fluid like water or a gas like nitrogen to create a small crack in reservoir rock deep underground containing oil or natural gas. The crack becomes a channel allowing oil, natural gas or natural gas liquids to flow to the well bore and eventually to the surface.
Fracking is NOT new. Halliburton started it in 1947. The process has been performed millions of times. The antis are still looking for one well where fracturing has contaminated ground water. Water always takes the path of least resistance and that is not up where our drinking water is. The natural stresses (pressures) underground keep fracks from going into ground water. We know this from seeing fracks in coal mines.
For 60 years no one cared about fracking. Any environmental issues would have been easy to see. Fracking was a non-issue until the U.S. became a threat to Russia and OPEC in 2009. We were one of their largest customers. Suddenly we were a competitor. U.S. oil on the world market dropped oil prices hurting Russia and OPEC costing them billions of dollars.
Fracking is to an oil and gas well like tires are to a car. Almost every well no matter where it is requires hydraulic fracturing to produce economically. During my Halliburton days I had friends all over the world involved in hydraulic fracturing. The fracking process hasn’t changed much. Large frack jobs were common in the 1970s. What changed was horizontal drilling technology allowing wells to be drilled 20,000 feet horizontally staying in the reservoir rock. These wells are fracked multiple times becoming world class wells.
Many people have no idea what fracking is and how important it is to the U.S. This includes ALL of the major media and many politicians including our presidential candidates. People in oil and gas areas are the most knowledgeable. We know millions of oil and gas jobs will go away if fracking was banned. That is true. It is also just the tip of the iceberg.
Oil and gas are dependable transportation and heating fuels. They work 24/7 no matter what the weather. They are also feedstock for most of the products we use every day. The Green New Deal designers want to eliminate fossil fuels and rely on wind and solar for 95 percent of our energy. That won’t happen. Fracking is needed to produce feedstock required to manufacture solar panels and windmills. Over 70 percent of an electric car is made from petrochemicals. Most of the green jobs in the renewable industry are in manufacturing. Without fracking these jobs go overseas most likely to China where CO2 emissions went up 2.9 percent in 2019. U.S. CO2 emissions were down 2.6 percent in 2019.
Our work at Shale Crescent USA shows a direct correlation between American manufacturing jobs and American oil and gas production. Elimination of fossil fuels sends these jobs overseas. That means losses of millions of manufacturing jobs all over the country. Each manufacturing jobs creates 5 other jobs. They go away too without fracking. Tourism is dead. We can’t manufacture electric cars. Gasoline, if we can get it, would become very expensive. People couldn’t afford vacations.
Wind and solar make electricity not feedstock. We will need to import ALL of our healthcare PPE, medical equipment and medications. China will love it. Fracking is also required to make batteries. 24-hour electricity is gone because wind and solar need a back- up especially at night. The Green New Deal didn’t take night into account. Every state depends on fracking for fuel and everyday products. Our military needs fracking for fuel and feedstock to make military equipment. Imagine depending on Russia, China or OPEC for our military equipment and fuel.
If we are educated we can make the best decisions possible when we vote. Basic engineering principals tell us a fracking ban in the U.S. will send more jobs overseas. Make us dependent on Russia, China and OPEC for energy, feedstock and critical items increasing our cost for energy and all products. Planetary CO2 and other global emissions will increase. We are smart enough not to let that happen.
Greg Kozera, email@example.com is the Director of Marketing and Sales for Shale Crescent USA. He is a professional engineer with a Masters in Environmental Engineering who has over 40 years’ experience in the energy industry. Greg is a leadership expert and the author of four books and numerous published articles.