News / USA

Fracking Could Lead to Big Profits for Some Companies

Companies Seek Profits from Cleaning Fracking Wateri
X
April 04, 2013 11:15 AM
The increased use of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing -- to extract natural gas and oil in many parts of the United States -- has dramatically increased the nation's energy supply, but also raised concerns about such issues as water pollution. Private companies are now rushing into the relatively new market for recycling drill site water. VOA's Greg Flakus has more on the story from Houston.

Companies Seek Profits from Cleaning Fracking Water

Greg Flakus
— The increased use of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, to extract natural gas and oil in many parts of the United States, has dramatically increased the nation's energy supply, but also raised concerns about such issues as water pollution. Private companies are now rushing into the relatively new market for recycling drill site water. 

A machine, developed by a company called "OriginOil," removes sludge from water that came from an oil drilling site - with a process originally developed for extracting algae.

“Petroleum is nothing but old algae, so essentially what we are doing is taking the organics out and leaving the clean water,” explained company CEO Riggs Eckelberry.

OriginOil has used its demonstration equipment in its home state of California to retrieve petroleum from water a driller had already processed.

“They gave it to us, thinking it was already clean; we brought out that gunky stuff and they saw dollar signs,” added Eckelberry.

OriginOil's General Manager Bill Charneski says even a small percentage of oil retrieved from drilling operations can be valuable.

“If it is produced water and it just has oil in it, then there is going to be substantial value because you can simply put it back in the pipeline that goes to the refinery,” Charneski said.

Produced water is what comes up with oil and gas from deep earth deposits, but drillers also use tons of water mixed with sand and chemicals in the fracturing process.

Currently, that water has to be trucked in -- and the contaminated water then has to be trucked out -- for disposal at great cost.

At Rice University, chemist Andrew Barron, who studies the water issue, says there are now many companies providing on-site processes and using different approaches, depending on local conditions.

“I think what you are going to see are industries within regions using specific technologies, " Barron said, "but over all in the country we will see a number of technologies being applied.”

Protests against fracking have grown because of concerns over water pollution.  But Barron is trying to address this issue by developing tracers that can identify water from a given operation.

“The idea is that you would put these tracers in a frack job and if there is contamination in the water from somewhere else, you could potentially trace the source of that contamination,” he explained.

While that may not answer all environmental complaints about hydraulic fracturing, Barron thinks it will provide better data for everyone concerned.

You May Like

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid