Impacts of Fracking Hits on Oil and Gas Wells
Fracking has been safely used in America since 1947. More than 1.7 million U.S. wells have been completed using the hydraulic fracturing process, producing more than seven billion barrels of oil and 600 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Natural gas production via hydraulic fracturing has increased tenfold or more since 2000. In a short time, advances in industry technology have completely shifted our country’s trajectory from energy scarcity to being “the undisputed leader of oil and gas production worldwide,” according to the International Energy Agency. The Eagle Ford Shale is the main region using fracking for extraction in Texas. This area includes Dimmitt, Live Oak, McMullen, DeWitt, Zavala, Karnes, and LaSalle Counties, among parts of other counties.
What Is Fracking?
While fracking has been used for decades, the process has been refined to be even more effective. American oil and gas drilling has been revolutionized by technological innovations, including hydraulic fracturing also known as fracking. Fracking and advanced directional drilling have made it more economical to extract oil and gas resources that were previously inaccessible – including shales, tight formations, and coalbeds – creating increased production and thus increased domestic energy supply and benefits to many areas of the United States, including Texas.
Hydraulic fracturing is a stimulation technique used to increase oil and gas production from underground rock formations through the injection of fluids under great pressure such that they can fracture the oil and gas producing formations. The injected items often include water, chemicals, and a proppant (most commonly sand). Oil and gas operators in Texas typically use a fracturing compound comprised of is 99.5% water and sand and 0.5% chemicals. The sand holds the fractures open so oil and gas can flow through them and up through the well to the surface.
Why Is Fracking Controversial?
Fracking has been around in some form since the 1940s but the recent technological updates of the 2000s have led environmental and other groups to have concerns about a variety of issues, including but not limited to:
- Air pollution
- Destruction of animal habitats and endangerment of species
- Fracking-induced earthquakes
- Groundwater contamination
- Health effects
- Methane pollution and its impact on climate change
- Noise pollution
- Soil pollution
- Toxic exposure to the chemicals used
- Waste disposal
Despite these concerns, proponents of fracking have proven it can be used to provide easy access to much-needed American fossil resources, giving us increased time to potentially transition to renewable energies if needed and helping our country to be more independent of international oil production. This, in turn, can lower prices for oil and gas and provide numerous jobs in the domestic energy industry, especially in Texas. All of this work increases revenue for local municipalities.
How Can Fracking Impact Oil and Gas Wells?
Good, productive, vertical oil and gas wells create a target for horizontal well fracks. When existing vertical well production reveals a productive area, it is often followed by horizontal wells that want to explore and exploit it. The fractures created by the pressures and volumes of fracking water and sand can hit existing wells and cause substantial damage. Sometimes they cause catastrophic failure.
After a frack hit, vertical wells are never the same. Frack water production usually replaces hydrocarbon production as the fracking fluids are pulled out of the damaged well and product formation. Oil and gas production drops. Operating costs increase. Equipment life decreases (frack water and sand are hard on production equipment). Reserves are lost. And plugging becomes a costly priority. These added costs and reserves losses are big hits to the operators that produce mature vertical wells. If you have a well that has been hit by a frack, our team is ready to hit back and fight for your just compensation.
In general, this oil and gas well completion process requires 5-10 acres of space at the well location. Questions landowners should ask include:
- Can a well be drilled on or near my property?
- What does my mineral lease allow?
- Does my oil and gas lease allow the company to access and use freshwater sources on my property?
Amarillo, Texas Lawyers for Mineral Rights
The attorneys of Lovell, Lovell, Isern & Farabough are licensed to practice across the Mid-Continent Region in Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Colorado, and Kansas. We work with individuals and businesses in the oil and gas industry through every stage of extraction and production as well as mineral rights and surface rights owners. Partner Brian W. Farabough is one of only a small percentage of Texas lawyers to be Board Certified in Oil, Gas, and Mineral Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. He has also been selected by his peers for inclusion in Texas Super Lawyers Rising Stars for Energy & Natural Resources every year since 2017.