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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

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Shale gas extraction in Ireland

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