Chevron Tests Propane to Extract O&G from Colorado Shale Wells

(Dow Jones Newswires), Nov. 22, 2011

Chevron said Tuesday it has tested propane as an agent for hydraulic fracturing of various shale gas wells in Colorado, a move that could potentially reduce the large amounts of water used to extract oil and natural gas.

"This fall, Chevron tested the use of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) as a fracturing agent in five natural gas wells in its Piceance Basin
development in northwestern Colorado," Chevron spokesman Russell Johnson said in an email. "We are now evaluating the test results to determine the potential usefulness of the technique."

Chevron's test comes at a time when hydraulic fracturing--a technique also known as "fracking"--has come under scrutiny from environmentalists and others who fear it poses a threat to public health through groundwater contamination and air pollution. It also
uses massive quantities of water, a concern in many Southwestern states currently affected by drought. Finding an alternative for water
in the fracking process could be key for Chevron and other oil companies that have recently acquired large land positions in shale formations across the U.S. and Canada.

Fracking involves the high-pressure injection of water, sand and chemicals into a shale seam, causing the rock to shatter and releasing
oil and natural gas. In propane fracking, water is replaced by a liquid propane gel that is pumped into the shale rock wells under extreme pressure.

Once the propane is used as a fracking agent it turns into a gas that leaves the well with the produced natural gas. Unlike water, propane
doesn't carry drilling chemicals back to the surface.

But the new waterless fracking method is still in its infancy, and its cost is higher than hydraulic fracturing, according to analysts.

Also, propane is flammable, and requires special equipment to reduce the risk of explosion, experts say.

Copyright (c) 2011 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.


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John Rogers | Nov. 23, 2011
OOPs it wasnt Dense phase CO2 but actually liquid CO2 in the mid 80s to early 2004 DOE shale gas programs. There was even some university research in developing polymers for sand carrying capabilities. It seems to take a long time for technology to get accepted and value seen I would agree Gas Fracs whether LPG or Liquid CO2 time has finally come. It is good to see that investors are patient (??) in the companies developing these technologies.

Barry | Nov. 23, 2011
Gasfrac is up and coming. Chevron/Hal hold patents on propane gelling process and licensed them to Gasfrac. Gasfrac has patents on specialty equipment needed to blend proppants and do fraccing with. disclosure" long gasfrac (GSFVF)

Robert | Nov. 22, 2011
This is groundbreaking info. Hope it works out. Propane has been utilized for numerous high pressure technologies including procedures for reclaiming waste oil.

Christel Frantz | Nov. 22, 2011
Why not use condensed sound waves or amplified sound waves instead of water or propane. It might be very ecologically friendly. Not sure how to address the bringing up of the chemicals and cuttings yet perhaps sound waves could also be a solution to that part of the equation as well. it is just a thought.

John Rogers | Nov. 22, 2011
Several years ago in the US DOE eastern gas shale program developed the fracturing with CO2 dense gas. It isn't a liquid as LPG but doesn't have the same safety problems as LPG either but had (may still have) issues of supply, cost, and technical and public acceptance in view of current CO2 situation. But if anthropogenic CO2 was used then it could be another method of adding value to waste stream.

Charles | Nov. 22, 2011
Fracking is not has been done for decades. The only reason the environmentalists are screaming is because they are looking for anything to stop us from finding more energy. They have their heads in the sand. There is no reason why we cannot become an exporter of oil, be self sufficient while looking for new and viable green technologies that will economically add to the US overall energy production. They will kill our economy and way of life. That is the point, that is what they want so they must be shut down at all costs in order for the US to formulate a sane energy policy to use cheap energy while we research viable alternatives. Why is this concept so hard to understand?

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