Chickashanews.com

SCOOP

December 18, 2013

Beyond fracking: University of Wyoming scientists look for ways to boost oil and gas production

WYOMING —

Terms like horizontal drilling and “fracking,” as hydraulic fracturing is commonly referred to, are well known now. The two technologies have sent U.S. energy production soaring in recent years, as previously inaccessible reservoirs of oil and gas have been unlocked in places like North Dakota, Pennsylvania and New York.

American natural gas production is up by more than a quarter on the decade. In October, crude oil production reached daily levels not seen since 1989. And a recent report by the International Energy Agency projected the U.S. will become the world’s largest oil producer by 2015, surpassing the likes of Saudi Arabia and Russia.

Time to take step back and breathe a little, right? Not exactly.

Scientists at the University of Wyoming are looking at new ways to improve oil and gas recovery even further. It sounds counterintuitive at first pass. How do you improve upon the technologies that will make the U.S. the world’s energy leaders in two years’ time?

Well, consider this. The recent energy boom has largely centered on shale formations. Techniques like fracking and horizontal drilling usually help recover between 4 to 12 percent of the oil and gas those formations are estimated to contain, leaving a significant prize left trapped within the ground.

“What we want is to go beyond horizontal drilling and fracking,” said Vladimir Alvarado, associate professor of chemical and petroleum engineering at the University of Wyoming. “That is a starting point … How do we access more? That is the real R&D question.”

The university researchers like Alvarado have a significant partner in their quest. ExxonMobil donated $2.5 million to the School of Energy Resources Improved Oil and Gas Recovery program in February. The state made a matching $2.5 million contribution of its own.

So how does one go about improving oil and gas production in shale formations? In several ways it turns out. One is relatively simple: improve collaboration between the scientists that work in the energy sector.

Text Only
SCOOP
  • Council approves more searches for oil, natural gas

    Searches for more oil and gas deposits in town can begin after Chickasha City Council struck a land use agreement with a third party.

    July 11, 2014

  • DSC_0916.JPG Local organization discussed oil and gas developments

    Oklahoma Corporation Commissioner Dana Murphy spoke about the oil and gas industry in the state during a meeting of the Grady County Mineral Owners Association Thursday.

    June 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • tds052214obamamain_photo Fracking debate follows Obama

    Critics of fracking planned to greet President Obama with signs and protests during his stop in upstate New York on Thursday. Obama might see some supporters of the practice, as well.

    May 22, 2014 2 Photos 2 Stories

  • SOHOT.jpg Tulsa energy company finds SCOOP to be SOHOT

    Interest in energy excavation in Grady County continues to rise, after Tulsa based UNIT Corporation released an earnings call transcript detailing the company's local work

    May 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Recent unemployment report shows prosperous Grady County

    Help wanted signs are popping up all over Chickasha and Grady County recently. 

    May 3, 2014

  • Oil warehouse to open in Chickasha

    Oklahoma City-based oil field chemical company Energy and Environmental Services will open a warehouse in Chickasha in the next month.

    April 30, 2014

  • Coast Guard wants barges to ship fracking water

    The U.S. Coast Guard wants to allow barges filled with fracking wastewater to ply the nation's rivers on their way toward disposal. Many environmentalists are horrified, but industry groups say barge transport has its advantages.

    December 19, 2013

  • Beyond fracking: University of Wyoming scientists look for ways to boost oil and gas production

    Terms like horizontal drilling and “fracking,” as hydraulic fracturing is commonly referred to, are well known now. The two technologies have sent U.S. energy production soaring in recent years, as previously inaccessible reservoirs of oil and gas have been unlocked in places like North Dakota, Pennsylvania and New York.

    December 18, 2013

  • More oil and gas drillers turn to water recycling

     When the rain stopped falling in Texas, the prairie grass yellowed, the soil cracked and oil drillers were confronted with a crisis. After years of easy access to cheap, plentiful water, the land they prized for its vast petroleum wealth was starting to dry up.

    November 14, 2013

  • OERB web.tiff Industry funded nonprofit cleans abandoned sites

    The energy industry has changed somewhat dramatically over the last two decades. During the boom in the '80s, regulation was scarce and energy companies left behind machinery and concrete slabs in the wake of their excavating. 
    Since 1993 the Oklahoma Energy Resources Board has been working diligently to make amends for the environmental damage done during this era, and 20 years later OERB has managed to clean up 13,000 well sites across the state including 53 in Grady County. 

    October 16, 2013 1 Photo