by Udo Rypstra

Shale gas fracking solution found?

Apex announces solution

Shale gas solution found
Shale gas

Apex Management Group, LLC (AMG), an American oil field services management company, has announced what it has decribed as “a game-changing solution that dramatically reduces the cost and environmental impact" of hydraulic fracturing, or 'fracking'. 

Working with ALCOR Energy Solutions, LLC (Alcor/AES), AMG claims it has the “exclusive technology to 'treat' and recycle frac water flow back in an environmentally friendly way, thus eliminating the need to dispose of or dump contaminated water,” the company said in a statement, released by Business Wire last week (3 January).

“AMG’s solution starts with turbines that run off stranded gas, which would otherwise be burnt and its byproducts allowed to escape into the atmosphere.

“But AMG doesn’t stop there. One of the biggest complaints about hydraulic fracturing is what to do with the contaminated, leftover water, which is either hauled away (at great expense) and dumped into the ground or processed, treated and filtered, which is very costly. Turbines put out a lot of heat – around 940 degrees Fahrenheit, to be more precise – and AMG’s system captures this heat and uses it to distill the frac water, which can then be used again in the fracking process or safely returned to the earth.”

The company says frac water has been associated with a variety of environmental issues including soil and drinking water contamination as well as earthquakes, and AMG’s solution eliminates these concerns.

Another problem for drilling companies, due to air quality concerns, the US Environmental Protection Agency is also increasing its restriction on 'flare gas' permitting. States such as Texas, Utah, Wyoming, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota and California have already passed legislation restricting gas flares and flare permits. These restrictions keep oil and gas companies from fully developing their lease sites that have insufficient gas transportation infrastructure.

“The US is sitting on massive oil and gas reserves that could be safely extracted and used to help break our foreign energy dependence and create millions of well-paying jobs,” said David Akin, president of AMG. “Our solutions make hydraulic fracturing less costly and greener – something that should please people on all sides of the issue.” 

AMG currently has generators operating in northwest Oklahoma. 

Meanwhile, United Kingdom Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey has announced that the government has allowed the resumption of exploratory fracking, but any fracking activities would be subject to new controls to mitigate the risks of seismic activity.

The news follows the 5 December Autumn Statement by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, in which he announced plans to better exploit the UK's gas resources and that the Department of Energy and Climate Change would establish an Office for Unconventional Gas and Oil.

Exploratory fracking has been suspended in the UK since May 2011 after two small seismic tremors were detected near the country's only fracking operation in the Bowland Basin to the east of Blackpool in Lancashire, northern England.

In early January, Rigzone reported that the British Geological Society believes shale deposits under Blackpool are 50% greater than previously thought, at 300 trillion cubic feet of gas.

"Shale gas represents a promising new potential energy resource for the UK. It could contribute significantly to our energy security, reducing our reliance on imported gas as we move to a low carbon economy,” Davey said. 

"My decision is based on the evidence. It comes after detailed study of the latest scientific research available and advice from leading experts in the field.

"We are still in the very early stages of shale gas exploration in the UK and it is likely to develop slowly. It is essential that its development should not come at the expense of local communities or the environment. Fracking must be safe and the public must be confident that it is safe," he added.

South Africa has also given the go-ahead for shale gas exploration, but not fracking, on which there is a hold until it can be extracted without harm to the environment.

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