Fracking: The Circus Comes to Town
What does it take to set up a natural gas fracking operation?
- During fracking, a 10-story rig is assembled to drill a hole up to 10,000 feet deep.
- Fracking creates thousands of tiny cracks in bedrock to free the oil or gas.
- A fracking drill site can be active anywhere from three weeks to three months.
- After a fracking site is closed, the well is capped with a valve several feet tall.
1. Each shale gas well requires earth-moving machinery to create a flat 1- or 2-acre pad of compressed earth.
2. Next, a 10-story rig is assembled to drill a hole up to 10,000 feet deep.
3. After that, the well is “fracked” – the process of bedrock fracturing with hydraulics – creating thousands of tiny cracks in the rock that free the oil or gas.
4. That requires heavy equipment: truck-sized containers of water and sand, mixers, stadium lighting, pumps, chemical storage and injection vans and recreational-vehicle command centers to orchestrate the operation.
5. The arrival of the drilling rig and fracking equipment has been described as “sounding like setting up of a circus, more or less.”
6. The fracking process can last anywhere from three weeks to three months.
7. Once drilling and fracking ends, the gear moves to the next well and a valve several feet tall is installed.
From Energy Boom Puts Wells in America’s Backyards by Russell Gold and Tom McGinty (Wall Street Journal)