Lochend Fracturing Practices
What additives are you using in your Lochend hydraulic sand fracturing process?
The additives used in fracing fluid vary from well-to-well. By volume, additives typically account for only about one percent of hydraulic fracturing fluids. Each additive performs a certain function and is selected specifically for each well, depending on the type of rock being fractured.
Most of the additives used in the greater Lochend area are found in common household products. Specific compounds used in a given fracturing operation will vary depending on company preference, source water quality and site-specific characteristics of the target formation. The diagram below represents the additives used in our typical water-based sand frac in the Lochend area.
The use of these additives is regulated to ensure safe work practices, proper site preparation, attentive handling and the protection of the public, employees, contractors and the environment. All hydraulic fracturing fluids for individual wells in Alberta and British Columbia are required to be disclosed and can be found by visiting www.fracfocus.ca.
How can I be sure that my water is protected?
It is important to note that in our Lochend deep natural gas and oil drilling operations, target hydraulic fracturing zones that are, on average, located over two kilometers below the earth’s surface, far below freshwater formations. These freshwater formations are separated from the frac target formation by thousands of feet of impermeable rock barriers.
Steel casing, pipe with surrounding layers of cement, is installed to isolate the well and protect the fresh water aquifers through which the wellbore penetrates. The minimum depth at which the surface casing must extend below these freshwater aquifers is regulated by the Alberta Energy Regulator ("AER"). The multiple layers of steel and cement that go into the construction of a well, when properly installed, virtually eliminate the possibility of contamination to these freshwater zones.
Water wells in the Lochend area typically produce from an average depth of 45 metres. In compliance with the AER Directive 8, type 2 – reduction for low-risk development wells, the minimum surface casing depth required for the horizontal wells in the Lochend area that drill to the Cardium formation is between 265 metres and 290 metres, offering protection far below the depth of most water wells. The industry average setting depth for this area is 283 metres. As shown in the diagram below, out of an abundance of caution and to ensure that our water resources are protected, we are currently setting surface casing at up to 600 metres. The average depth of the Cardium target formation, where the fracs actually occur, is 2,200 metres.
We offer landowners baseline testing for water wells within 400 metres from our operations and additional requests for water testing are evaluated on a case-by-case basis beyond this distance.
Will drilling and fracing deplete our water resources?
No. Drilling a typical horizontal well in Lochend utilizes approximately 4,500 barrels ("bbls") of water using water based drilling mud. Over an average 18 day drilling period, this amount is equivalent to two and a half truckloads of water per day (~100 bbls/load).
The amount of water used during a fracing operation varies from well-to-well. Water requirements are approximatley 14,000 - 21,000 bbls per well. Generally around 30 to 40 percent of this water is recylced water from previously fraced wells.
Do you flare or release gas when you drill and complete a Lochend well?
In our operations gas is not released when we drill a well. Once the well is completed, we need to flow the well to recover some of the frac fluid and nitrogen used in the fracturing operation. The fluid is captured and trucked to a waste-treatment facility for processing. Initially, more nitrogen flows back than can be put into the pipeline system; therefore, it needs to be flared or incinerated. Once nitrogen levels drop, the gas is delivered into the pipeline system and conserved. We have reduced the flowback period to as short as seven days in our Lochend operations.
Do you flare or incinerate gas in Lochend?
We only incinerate in the Lochend area. Flaring and incineration are two different approved methods used by industry to burn waste gases that are unable to be processed or sold.
- Flaring is the igniting of natural gas at the end of a flare stack. The stack acts as a chimney and this causes the characteristic flame associated with flaring.
- Incineration is the mixing and combusting of waste gas streams, air, and fuel in an enclosed chamber for added combustion efficiency. Air and gas are mixed at a controlled rate and ignited. Typically, no flame is visible from an incinerator.