Shale gas extraction in Ireland
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Slideshow giving basic information on hydraulic fracturing (fracking), proposal for shale gas extraction in Ireland and the environmental, community and economic issues associated

Slideshow giving basic information on hydraulic fracturing (fracking), proposal for shale gas extraction in Ireland and the environmental, community and economic issues associated

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  • Glenwood Reseaarch 2011
  • Formed from mud laid down in layers. Originates millions of years ago, usually in slow-moving waters, where clay was deposited little by little. Shale often contains fossils. Shale is a fine-grained, clastic sedimentary rock composed of mud that is a mix of flakes of clay minerals and tiny fragments ( silt -sized particles) of other minerals, especially quartz and calcite . During the immature, or biological, stage of petroleum formation, biogenic methane (often called marsh gas) is produced as a result of the decomposition of organic material by the action of anaerobic microbes. These microorganisms cannot tolerate even traces of oxygen and are also inhibited by high concentrations of dissolved sulfate. Consequently, biogenic gas generation is confined to certain environments that include poorly drained swamps and bays, some lake bottoms, and marine environments beneath the zone of active sulfate reduction. Gas of predominantly biogenic origin is thought to constitute more than 20 percent of the world's gas reserves. Glenwood Reseaarch 2011
  • Enegi Oil ( LON:ENEG ) has been given an option over 495-square kilometres in the Clare Basin. Glenwood Reseaarch 2011
  • Glenwood Reseaarch 2011
  • The hole is lined with concrete and a perforating gun is lowered to the end of the well. The gun fires off explosions that pierce the concrete and open up microfractures in the shale. Millions of gallons of high-pressure water mixed with sand, plus small amounts of additives known as fracking chemicals are pumped down the well, releasing the gas. Haliburton figure for amount of water. Other sources say much more – up to 13 million gallons per well. Glenwood Reseaarch 2011
  • Friction reducers decrease pumping friction , e.g. polyacrylamide. Degrades to acrylamide, lethal neurotoxin + carcinogen Fluid can be pumped down the well-bore as fast as 100 bbl/min. to fracture the shale. Without using slickwater the top speed of pumping is around 60 bbl/min. Elevated temperatures (35 °C) caused a significant release of up to 144 μg l −1 of acrylamide and 453 μg l −1 of acrylic acid in new gel and up to 25 μg l −1 of acrylamide and 157 μg l −1 of acrylic acid in field-conditioned gels. Source: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0048969704004681#toc11 Environmental: Cationic and neutral PAMs, however, have greater toxicities and should not be used. The charged nature of cationic PAM hydrogel is attracted to hemoglobin in fish gills, where the gel binds and suffocates the fish. In addition to fish, a variety of algal and invertebrate species are also injured or killed when exposed to low levels of cationic PAMs. Since cationic PAMs may also contain higher levels of acrylamide monomer, many researchers recommend against any environmental use of cationic PAM hydrogels and in fact use of these compounds is illegal in a number of municipalities where aquatic contamination is likely. Source: http://plantbest.com/?page=shop/mediaRoomDetail&mediaID=34&ps_session=ecde8492d3decf9b8feef47160fba06e Biocides kill bacteria underground, e,g, quaternary ammonium chloride Oxygen scavengers prevent pipe corrosion, e.g. Acids remove drilling mud damage e.g. hydrochloric acid Gelling agents improve suspension of sand in water, e.g. guar gum Corrosion inhibitors, e.g. acetaldehyde http://fracfocus.org/ Glutaraldehyde (CAS No. 111-30-8) is a biocide used widely in drilling and fracturing fluids. Along with its antimicrobial effects, it is a potent respiratory toxin effective at parts-per-billion (ppb) concentrations (38); a sensitizer in susceptible people, it has induced occupational asthma and/or contact dermatitis in workers exposed to it, and is a known mutagen (i.e., a substance that may induce or increase the frequency of genetic mutations) (38, 39). It is readily inhaled or absorbed through the skin. In the environment, algae, zooplankton and steelhead trout were found to be dramatically harmed by glutaraldehyde at very low (1 – 5 ppb) concentrations (40). Dimethylformamide toxic carcinogen Ammonium bisulphite irritating to skin and eyes Down-winder’s syndrome http://63.134.196.109/documents/RiskAssessmentNaturalGasExtraction.pdf Glenwood Reseaarch 2011
  • Glenwood Reseaarch 2011
  • Methane that caused a blast in a Dimock water well, forced a family to evacuate their home and bubbled up in the Susquehanna River was unsettled from porous rock between the surface and the Marcellus Shale as drillers searched for deep gas. Read more: http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/stray-gas-plagues-nepa-marcellus-wells-1.1173187#ixzz1SNYKPUGc   7 incidents per 1,000 wells in 2010 Finavera Gas has recently undertaken studies which show there is also potential for conventional natural gas exploration in the (Lough Allen) basin. Where increased porosity could exist by virtue of depth, a conventional drilling target has been indentified on a newly discovered but untested seismic anomaly in the basin.   Connection? Glenwood Reseaarch 2011
  • (State Department of Environmental Conservation, US) Multiple tanks, diesel fumes, noise, bright lights, constant truck traffic, noxious odours, massive pipelines, injection wells, landfarms, waste pits, frack pits, compressor stations, tank farms, water depletion, water contamination, spills, processing plants… Glenwood Reseaarch 2011
  • EU impacts doc Experiences in North America Possible water contaminations might be induced by  Spills of drilling mud, flowback and brine, from tailings or storage tanks causing water contamination and salinization.  Leaks or accidents from surface activities, e.g. leaking fluid or waste water pipes or ponds, unprofessional handling or old equipment.  Leaks from inadequate cementing of the wells.  Leaks through geological structures, either through natural or through artificial cracks or pathways. Actually, most of the complaints against hydraulic fracturing are because of possible groundwater contamination. Basically, besides specific spills and accidents the intrusion of fracturing fluids or methane from the deeper structures is in the focus. Glenwood Reseaarch 2011
  • The emissions potentially originate from the following sources:  Emissions from trucks and drilling equipment (noise, particulates, SO2, NOx, NMVOC and CO);  Emissions from natural gas processing and transportation (noise, particulates, SO2, NOx, NMVOC and CO);  Evaporative emissions of chemicals from waste water ponds;  Emissions due to spills and well blow outs (dispersion of drilling or fracturing fluids combined with particulates from the deposit). The operation of drilling equipment consumes large amounts of fuels which are burnt to emit CO2. Also, some fugitive emissions of methane, a greenhouse gas, might occur during production, processing and transport. http://www.scribd.com/doc/55017063/Desmog-Fracking-the-Future Glenwood Reseaarch 2011
  • Glenwood Reseaarch 2011
  • Naturally occurring radioactive materials such as uranium, thorium and radium bound in the rock are transported to the surface with flow-back fluid It is well known that hydraulic fracturing can induce small earthquakes in the order of 1 – 3 at the Richter scale. [Aduschkin 2000] For instance, in Arkansas, USA, the rate of small earthquakes has increased over the last years tenfold. [AGS 2011] Concerns rose that these are induced by the steep increase in drilling activities in the Fayetteville Shale. Also, the Fort Worth region has experienced at least 18 smaller earthquakes since December 2008. The city of Cleburne alone experienced 7 earthquakes between June and July 2009 in an area where during the 140 years before no earthquake at all was registered. [Michaels 2010] In April 2011, the city of Blackpool in the UK experienced a small earthquake (1.5 at the Richter scale) which was followed in June 2011 by a larger one (2.5 at the Richter scale). The company ‘Cuadrilla Resources’ which was conducting hydraulic fracturing operations in the earth quake area, stopped its operations and commissioned an investigation of the issue. It announced that it would cease its operations in case a relation of the earthquakes to its drilling activities would be shown. [Nonnenmacher 2011] In Onondaga County, New York, the radioactive substance radon (222Rn) was measured in indoor air in the basements of 210 homes. All of the homes underlain by Marcellus shale had indoor air levels of 222Rn above 148 Bq/m³, and the average concentration in these homes was 326 Bq/m³4, which is more than twice the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) ‘action level’ (i.e. the level at which it is recommended that homeowners try to reduce the radon concentration) of 148 Bq/m³. The average indoor radon level in the USA is 48 Bq/m³. [Sumi 2008] An increase by 100 Bq/m³ of air leads to an increase of lung cancer of 10%. [Zeeb et al 2009] http://www.thepeoplesvoice.org/TPV3/Voices.php/2011/01/05/fracking-the-life-out-of-arkansas-and-be Glenwood Reseaarch 2011
  • Glenwood Reseaarch 2011
  • Glenwood Reseaarch 2011
  • Glenwood Reseaarch 2011

Shale gas extraction in Ireland Presentation Transcript

  • 1. SHALE GAS EXTRACTION Boom or Bust? Aed ín McLoughlin B.Sc. Ph.D. Glenwood Research
  • 2. WHAT IS SHALE GAS?
    • Shale – formed from mud in slow-moving waters laid down in layers up to 400 million years ago .and compacted by pressure as the layers drop deeper and deeper into the earth.
    • Shale gas – found where organic matter in the shale turned into gas under pressure.
    • Shale gas is found all over the world.
  • 3. SHALE GAS THROUGHOUT THE WORLD Source: EIA_World_Shale_Gas_Map.png ‎
  • 4. SHALE GAS IN IRELAND
    • Leitrim, Cavan, Sligo, Donegal, Monaghan and Roscommon
    • Fermanagh
      • Northwest Carboniferous (NC) Basin, also called “Lough Allen” basin.
    • Clare, Galway, Limerick, Cork, Kerry
      • Clare Basin
    • Options licenses have been granted for NC and Clare basins in ROI
    • In NI, exploratory license has been granted for area that includes Belleek, Derrygonnelly, Florencecourt, Belcoo and Garrison.
  • 5. NC (“LOUGH ALLEN”) BASIN ----- NC Basin ----- ROI licence area ----- Fermanagh licence area  Existing wells ----- Proposed gas pipeline
  • 6. HOW THEY GET THE GAS OUT
    • Flat concrete pad (2.5 acre) + access road constructed
    • Vertical drilling 1,000 – 6,000ft to shale layer; (6,000ft is over a mile.)
    • At shale layer, drill turns and moves horizontally.
    • Drill removed, steel pipes pushed down the shaft.
    • Cement is poured around the pipes to act as barrier.
  • 7. FRACKING – HYDRAULIC FRACTURING
    • Perforating gun is lowered to the end of the bore. Small explosions are set off, fracturing (cracking) the shale.
    • Fracking fluid is made - water + sand + chemicals. Thick liquid, sand in suspension. 2.5 million gallons or more of water per well
    • This fluid is pumped in at very high pressure to enlarge the cracks made in the shale and release the gas .
    • Gas released forces 25% - 40% of fracking fluid, now mixed with gas, salt, volatile chemicals and heavy metals, back up the pipe (blowback). 25% = 625,000 gallons per well. 40% = 1 million gallons
    • The gas is transported via tankers or pipes to a refinery.
  • 8. WHAT CHEMICALS?
    • Common examples:
      • Acid , e.g. Hydrochloric acid. Cleans pipes and residue of explosions in shale. Thousands of gallons.
      • Polyacrylamide gel or similar produces “slickwater”, reduces friction, fills the bore. 100,000 gallons.
      • Surfactants (detergents) keep sand in suspension.
      • Gelling agents , e.g. guar gum. Also help keep sand in suspension. Millions of gallons.
      • Biocides – kill micro-organisms, e.g. bromine-based DBNPA or glutaraldehyde.
      • Corrosion inhibitors, e.g. N,n-dimethyl formamide and oxygen scavengers, e.g. ammonium bisulfite prevent corrosion of steel tube.
  • 9. A QUIET PAD 2.5 acres concrete platform, access road, drill, water pit, trucks, containers, pipes, machinery. One every 2-4 km.
  • 10. SHALE GAS PAD
      • Every 2-4 km (1–2 miles) :
      • Flattened concrete foundation – 2.5 acres in area
      • Access road suitable for heavy trucks
      • Up to 8 wells per pad
      • 60 ft tower
      • 4 toxic wastewater tanks, 40ft x 40ft x 15ft
      • 2 rainwater pits, 50m x 50m x 10m.
      • (Combined = area of a soccer pitch)
      • Water well drill-head
      • Machinery of various kinds, tankers, trucks, containers, pipelines, etc.
      • AN INDUSTRIALISED ZONE!
  • 11. A PAD BEING FRACKED Pumps lined up to produce the 10,000 to 14,000 psi used to crack the shale
  • 12. WHAT ARE THE ISSUES?
        • Traffic
        • Water
        • Air
        • Land
        • Community
        • Economic
  • 13. TRAFFIC ISSUES
      • It takes 30 to 40 days to bring in all the materials to start the fracking process for each mine site (“pad”). Between 895 and 1,350 truckloads are required for each site – construction, fracking and site completion.
      • 100 heavy trucks and tankers per day on the roads in Leitrim !
      • These operations run twenty-four hours/day, seven days per week, breaking up secondary roads.
      • Many of the tanker trucks carry toxic chemicals or toxic waste .
      • They travel in convoys, polluting the neighbourhood with noise and fumes .
  • 14. TRAFFIC IN VILLAGE NEAR FRACKING AREA
  • 15. WATER ISSUES
    • 50,000 litres (kg) of chemicals are included in the 2.5 million gallons of water used to frack each well. At least 25% of this mixture flows back up, together with ‘nasties’ from underground, and must be stored – it is toxic.
    • Danger of spillages in process – during transport, addition or pumping.
    • Volatile petroleum chemicals and Increased levels of radioactivity in flow-back fluid.
    • Leakages from storage tanks or ponds cause water contamination and salted water.
    • If cement casing on drill well is faulty or poor standard, toxic wastewater and/or gas leak into surrounding rock or water table. 1 in 6 inactive wells are ‘leaky’.
    • Oil/gas companies report 2% ‘incidents ’.
  • 16. WHAT 50,000 LITRES OF CHEMICALS LOOK LIKE White plastic cube-shaped containers of frack chemicals on tractor trailers
  • 17. AIR ISSUES
    • Potential sources of pollution:
      • Fumes from trucks and drilling equipment
      • Emissions from gas processing and transportation
      • Evaporation of chemicals from toxic wastewater ponds
      • Emissions due to well blowouts or spills/accidents
      • Escape of methane gas during production, processing and transport
      • Smog from drilling
  • 18. WHAT’S IN THAT DUST? Fumes and dust spewing from the mixing area
  • 19. LAND ISSUES
    • Scenery and farms destroyed – concrete pads + access roads + gas piping + equipment + heavy traffic throughout the area for 20 years.
    • Dust comes from all activities at the mine sites and along the entire haul routes. 
    • Dust from pads contains heavy metals, e.g. lead, and radioactive elements , e.g. radium, and pollutes land and air.
    • Small earthquakes (as in England), disturb the shallow layers, including the water table.
    • Spillages can contaminate the land and streams.
  • 20. ACCIDENTS: “FRACKING TRUCK RUNS OFF ROAD; CONTENTS SPILL” (WASHINGTON COUNTY) Spill workers herding cattle away from the stream since cattle like to drink salty brine wastewater October 2010
  • 21. A “CLEAN” ENERGY SOURCE?
      • Natural Gas production, processing, storage, transmission, and distribution is by far the single largest cause of methane release into the atmosphere. 
      • 3.6% to 7.9% of the methane from shale-gas production escapes to the atmosphere in venting and leaks over the lifetime of a well.
      • These methane emissions are 30% - 100% more than those from conventional gas.
      • Methane is at least 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas.
    (From a Cornell University study)
  • 22. COMMUNITY ISSUES
        • Community values and priorities
        • Divided communities
        • Public health
        • No local authority planning control
        • Quality of Life affected
        • Land values fall
  • 23. COULD THIS BE YOUR HOUSE NEXT YEAR?
  • 24. ECONOMIC ISSUES
      • Tourism destroyed
      • Agriculture possibly devastated - one incident of benzene in milk or meat is all it would take
      • Carbon emissions increased
      • Our major water table polluted
  • 25. WHAT WE COULD BE LEFT WITH An aerial view of a Shale Gas production area