The Fracking Industry Is Cannibalizing Its Own Production, Increasing Spill Risks | DeSmogBlog

The first thing to understand is that this is simply a problem of the industry being greedy. The oil producers are drilling too many wells in close proximity to one another, and when they frack the newer wells — known as child wells — those “bash” or “hit” the older wells and cause problems.

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The Fracking Industry Is Cannibalizing Its Own Production, Increasing Spill Risks | DeSmogBlog

The first thing to understand is that this is simply a problem of the industry being greedy. The oil producers are drilling too many wells in close proximity to one another, and when they frack the newer wells — known as child wells — those “bash” or “hit” the older wells and cause problems.

In a typical frack site, the production begins with a first test well, which is known as the parent well. The wells drilled in proximity to the parent well are called child wells.

What is happening is that not only are the child wells cannibalizing the production of the existing parent well, but when the child wells are fracked they can create “frac hits” that damage the parent well. These frac hits can reduce the pressure in the parent well leading to lower production, they can damage the…

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6 thoughts on “The Fracking Industry Is Cannibalizing Its Own Production, Increasing Spill Risks | DeSmogBlog

  1. Don’t forget wildfires, massive floods, volcanic eruptions and even new terminology; lavanadoes and firenadoes and next, we will have “Sharknados!” Everything is polluted now anyway; the water we drink, the air we breathe and the food we eat. But hey! The smartphones are still working, so we good!

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  2. Leaving aside all the environmental and health issues, the harsh truth is that most fracking is “uneconomic”. That’s why US is desperately trying to cannibalise other oil producers – Iraq, Syria, Iran, Venezuela, even Yemen – to force their production down and the oil price UP. Saudi and UAE remain the kingpins – which is why US grovels to them – but that ain’t easy either with Saudi financial reserves dropping steeply as demand for oil levels off. Oil (not including natural gas) is peaking as developing countries and Europe desperately look to renewables to try to create some kind of economic independence. And while there are still vast reserves of oil – most of it is becoming harder to get at and more energy intensive to extract.

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  3. Thank you for bringing up the economics of fracking, Lowell. Richard Heinberg mentions this in his book Snake Oil. He maintains that because fracking wells deplete so quickly, petroleum companies must continue to drill more and more just to keep up with their loan repayments every month. When the oil price dropped, most of the small fracking companies couldn’t keep up and went bankrupt. I understand that even Exxon is in financial difficulty now.

    I understand that many banks refused to finance new fracking projects or coal fired power plants – or in some cases gas-fired plants because it takes 20-30 years to pay these loans off. And with so many customers switching to renewables already the banks worry about getting their money back.

    Chris Goodall writes about this (and why the cost of renewables keeps dropping) in The Switch.

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