Q&A: Inventor of Waterless Fracking on Why His Method Will Be a Game-Changer - propane gas grill with grill cover
In an interview, Robert Leicester discussed all the issues from the risk of using propane to the reason why Canadian companies are more willing to try new things.Anthony Brino wrote in climate news that Robert Lester, a research engineer at Chevron in 1990, began looking for a way, without using the large amount of chemical enhanced water required for hydraulic fracturing, deep natural gas and petroleum deposits are extracted.The industry's growing dependence on such a large amount of water seems unsustainable economically and ecologically.At first, lestrez carried out experiments with nitrogen and liquid carbon dioxide.But he is not satisfied.One night, when he was on the phone with a colleague, he was at homeWorker, his wife asked him to turn off the gas grill."I said I understood.My wife thought I was talking to her, but I was talking to the phone."Lemg/kg has finally developed a hydraulic fracturing process that replaces water with propane or liquefied petroleum gas.Leicester said Chevron was not interested in hydraulic fracturing of liquefied petroleum gas.But in 2006, a business friend in Canada accepted the idea and founded GasFrac, which lestrez is now the chief technology officer of the company.Located in Calgary, Alberta, GasFrac is clearly the only company that offers LPG fracking.Supporters of liquefied petroleum gas say it has less interference with the environment than fracking, and it can also be more profitable in the long run because it reduces infrastructure and waste.(Here's the story from the internal news and the Albany Times --More details on propane fracking.) But it is difficult to convince an industry that has built and made a profit to accept a new technology, lestrez said in a broad news postInterview scope.The company recently received a loan of $100 million, which will help ease some of its growing pains, the company has hired Zek Zenin, former president of the energy services group at caliberton, to replace the retiring founder and CEO.The industry was awarded the world's first shale gas technology innovation award Tuesday night."Although the award was originally intended to reflect the biggest breakthrough in the last 12 months, the Commission believes that, the potential impact of LPG fracturing is far-reaching (economic, environmental, and also an opportunity for the industry to present itself to the public/government) the technology is still new, enough to guarantee being hailed as the biggest breakthrough in this year's event, "lestrez said in a letter informing the award.Why did you want to dry with liquid other than water in the first place?Are you driven by environmental problems?Are you looking for a better drill?"This was initially due to the lack of technology we realized we were using for fracking wells.And there must be a better answer.We also recognize that these massive fracking will work in the short term, but it is doubtful that this will be sustainable."But the main drivers did well.Therefore, we start with a clean slate to study the fluid based on its performance, safety and sustainability.In terms of sustainable development, I start from an economic and environmental perspective."What impact do you think liquefied petroleum gas fracturing will have on the drilling industry?"Obviously I'm biased against GasFrac, but I think it's going to be an important game --Change the impact on the industry.This can result in greater returns or, from an agricultural point of view, greater yields on less affected lands.This is a new technology today.Over time, it seems to me that this will become a standard practice."Today, we are the only company that produces liquefied petroleum gas, so the infrastructure of liquefied petroleum gas is relatively poor.Need equipment, need training personnel, need to pay special attention to and invest in the overall quality of the oil and gas industry."I compare it to a mobile phone and a package phone.The package phone we used before may be 5 pounds.Today, we have not only a micro-mobile phone in our pocket, but also a computer that can access the Internet.Therefore, over time, there will be improvements in the application of technology.But the core, fundamental breakthroughAt this point, GasFrac has brought about this origin."The drilling industry has invested a lot in water --Based on the hydraulic fracturing infrastructure.How hard is it to introduce completely different technologies?"As we challenge it to market, I always quote: 'Good is a great enemy.Now many companies have achieved good results, so when we see that disruptive technologies can bring huge results to them,The results improved and they were skeptical about taking risks because their money was already well paid off financially."But some people reached out and said," can we do better? '?Good is not a great enemy to us."What we are trying to do is match the growth of GasFrac with the growth of these companies.Once the first adopters are successful, there are always second tier adopters who want to catch up with their competitors.This is a "non-me first" syndrome;Once this has been demonstrated by others, others want to keep up with the trend.Currently in the United States.S.Our equipment is sold out.Usually, there are about two.Monthly backlog."Another challenge is that most of the existing drilling infrastructure is for water.It is relatively easy because it is water.You make a mistake in water and have a negative impact.Because they do not cause catastrophic events immediately, they are not immediately identified.But in the long run, pollution can be disastrous for both the reservoir and surface water."You said that Canada's oil industry is more willing to accept liquefied petroleum gas fracturing technology than the United States.S.industry.Why is that?"It is well known that in the oil and gas industry, the earliest adoption of new technologies is usually in the Canadian market.In Canada, almost every oil and gas company is sitting in the same neighborhood in downtown Calgary, and they are more in line with the neighborhood's approach.Everyone is scratching in order to gain a competitive advantage."So when there's new technology that gives them a chance to be ahead of others, they're more than willing to do it.They want to be the first company to promote to the Canadian industry that they are the most progressive and have achieved the best results compared to their competitors.This is true across many different applications across the industry.They are very respectful and proud of how to use the new technology."Is the environmental regulations of Canada different?"This is a very difficult question to answer, because in the United StatesS.As a result, many of the regulators that prioritize drilling come from states.You may have some states that are more demanding than you see in Canada, while others have fewer requirements.This is a mixed bag.Environmental activists seem interested in LPG hydraulic fracturing technology.Have you contacted them?"From a pragmatic point of view, we are very interested in working with environmental groups.Like any subject, there is a variety of content from extremism to pragmatism to the other side of extremism.We want to work with people who want to work for the solution.There are a number of environmental groups who are concerned about finding solutions with less impact."So I talked to Patti Limerick from the Western Center of the United States and the University of Colorado at Boulder.She advocates this very strongly: how do we calm down the quarrel and how do we work out a solution together?I have spoken to the Environmental Protection Alliance outside of New York City and have had a good conversation with it.I have spoken to some professors at Columbia University."There are a lot of problems out there, and I think a lot of them can be solved when we sit down and talk about them.Our technology is minimizing water, emissions and combustion problems with conventional fracking.Many of the more eco-friendly solutions are actually better technical solutions.That's why we're excited about the intersection of technology and environmental sustainability."One problem with LPG is that it requires a lot of propane and the risk of fire or explosion.You 've dealt with a small fire at the GasFrac well site in January.How do you deal with this risk?"One disadvantage of using propane is flammable or volatile.So like everything else, we went through a completeInternal assessment and the steps to hire external experts to identify risks and eliminate them and minimize them.The first thing is to protect the people.Anyone around the location.The device operates 100% remotely.There is no one in the heat zone we define, the Heat Zone is 50 m from the wellhead, about 150 feet m."(Since the fire in January) there has been a major change in our process.We are constantly learning.We now have more than 20 sensors for monitoring propane or any other steam.We have multiple CCTV, and we have infrared cameras looking for changes in temperature to infer that there is any type of propane leak.There are also pressure sensors to identify any type of premature failure.A large part is to train our staff.We have to have staff trained and have the right processes and procedures.Everything is recorded and reviewed by another company specializing in the pumping of flammable liquids."Some people who are skeptical about propane fracking say it hasn't worked in the past.What do you think would be the difference between GasFrac?"The biggest difference between our technology and what we tried in our 70 s was how we deployed it.We actually use a completely closed loop system that is not exposed to steam.And in the past, they had what we call a blender, a device that mixes liquid with sand.So when you have propane in standard atmospheric conditions, there will be a lot of steam and it wants to boil.So it's very fragile in this case."Some people suspect that anything but water can be used for drilling.But you said that propane fracturing can be more effective ...... "For example, we want to extract oil or natural gas from a shale area about 500 feet long.It takes about 20,000 gallons of propane.I may need 500 feet or 80,000 gallons of water if I want to do 100,000 with water.With propane, we can get almost 500 feet.For propane per gallon, it takes five gallons of water to produce from shale in the same area."The use of propane can reduce traffic, reduce emissions, reduce noise and improve production efficiency.This is our understanding of the concept of sustainable development."You said you wanted to go beyond the niche market.How many fracking service markets do you want to occupy in the next decade?"I think we are not a niche market even now because we have developed almost all types of oil and gas wells, including gas storage wells.Our technology is wide enough to cover a wide range.Obviously, we have a vision for growth, but from the perspective of the SEC [Securities and Exchange Commission], it's really not something I can talk about publicly."Would you consider it if a big company like Burton offered to acquire GasFrac?"As a listed company, our focus is obviously on providing the best financial return to shareholders.If a quote like this goes through, they have to go through the review of our board.That's not what I can speculate about.What I want to say is: many people in our company, from the top to the bottom, have real enthusiasm for this technology, because its potential impact on changing the oil and gas industry is positive, both from the wellFrom a performance and environmental perspective.When they came to our company, some of us had retired.That's great, they said.I have been in this industry for 30 or 40 years.I want to be part of this big change.''Perhaps another question for the board: Would you consider licensing the technology if GasFrac could not meet the requirements?"I would say there is a range of alternative business models to consider."You have said that a company is currently drilling using your technology in Marcellus Shale, Pennsylvania.Can you say what kind of results it got?"The operator approached GasFrac to prepare a technical document for the industry on the results of these wells.GasFrac is very happy to share these results and let everyone know about them.However, the parent company of the operatorWho's the well?I do not want the work to be widely shared.Therefore, one can draw one's own conclusions about how the work has come about.Unfortunately, by entering into a non-disclosure agreement with our valued customers, we are not free to share the actual results.New York State is currently suspending fracking, but some landowners there have expressed interest in GasFrac.Will you work in New York when the regulator approves drilling?"We have worked actively with the Tioga County landowners union in New York.We are very interested in working with them to develop this forward looking product in Marcellus.Not only Marcellus, but also other shale-Especially the Utica Shale.It's an attractive opportunity for our company."The biggest obstacle to our work in the northeast is the terrain problem in southwest Pennsylvania.If this is not a problem, there are already operators who basically agree that we will come and work for them.But after checking their leaseOn both sides of the mountains --This makes the size of the equipment we have more difficult because it is not designed to go up and down.But there is certainly an interest within our company in making adjustments if necessary.Why are you an oil engineer?"My dad is an oil engineer from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and got a master's degree in petroleum engineering in 1959.He is less interested in the oil and gas business, but less interested in research.We live in New Jersey where he works for SO [Standard Oil] and is now Exxon.He later moved to San Antonio in 68 years, where we grew up."When we were young, we used to load our wagon up, go to the country on the mountain, basically, take the stone hammer, knock the rocks on both sides of the mountain, and take them home and polish them.Then my dad would let us sit down and explain the rocks to us.So I was interested in geology, rocks and minerals.Then I started to understand the challenge of how to get oil to flow underground and eventually produce it and bring it to the surface.