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

US Imposes Sanctions on Alleged Honduran Drug Gang

Treasury department alleges Los Valles group is responsible for smuggling tens of thousands of kilograms of cocaine into US each month More

At 91, Marvel Creator Stan Lee Continues to Expand his Universe

Company's chief emeritus hopes to interest new generation of children in superheroes of all shapes and sizes by publishing content across multiple media platforms More

Photogallery New Drug Protects Against Virus in Ebola Family

Study by researchers at University of Texas Medical Branch, Tekmira Pharmaceuticals is first looking at drug's effectiveness after onset of symptoms 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.
African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebolai
X
George Putic
August 20, 2014 8:57 PM
While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ferguson Calls For Justice as Anger, Violence Grips Community

Violence, anger and frustration continue to grip the small St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. Protests broke out after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager on August 9. The case has sparked outrage around the nation and prompted the White House to send U.S. Attorney Eric Holder to the small community of just over 20,000 people. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas has more from Ferguson.
Video

Video Beheading Of US Journalist Breeds Outrage

U.S. and British authorities have launched an investigation into an Islamic State video showing the beheading of kidnapped American journalist James Foley by a militant with a British accent. The extremist group, which posted the video on the Internet Tuesday, said the murder was revenge for U.S. airstrikes on militant positions in Iraq - and has threatened to execute another American journalist it is holding. Henry Ridgwell has more from London.
Video

Video Family Robots - The Next Big Thing?

Robots that can help us with daily chores like cooking and cleaning are a long way off, but automatons that serve as family companions may be much closer. Researchers in the United States, France, Japan and other countries are racing to build robots that can entertain and perform some simpler tasks for us. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.

AppleAndroid