The Texas well that started a revolution and changed the world forever

Posted: June 30, 2018 by oldbrew in Shale gas, innovation, shale oil
Tags: , ,

Permian shale, Texas [image credit: fulcrium.com]


Not a bad idea from someone who admitted “I was just trying to keep my job”.
H/T The GWPF

Two decades ago, an engineer tried a new way to get gas out of the ground. Energy markets and global politics would never be the same, writes Russell Gold @ The Wall Street Journal.

DISH, Texas – Twenty years ago this month, a well was drilled here that changed the world.

Nothing at the time suggested the unassuming well in this rural town north of Fort Worth would hobble OPEC, the powerful oil cartel that had governed prices of the world’s most important commodity for more than a generation. Or that it would help turn the U.S. into a global energy exporter, or shuffle the geopolitical deck.

But it did all of that – and more.

The well used hydraulic fracturing to crack the incredibly tight shale rocks below. It fired the first shot in the fracking revolution–a blast soon felt in Riyadh, Tehran and Moscow.

“I had no idea it would cause so much change. I was just trying to keep my job,” said Nick Steinsberger on a recent visit to the well pad. He was the engineer who obtained permission to try a new approach to completing the well that had been drilling a mile and a half deep into a thick grey wedge of rock known as the Barnett Shale.

Mr. Steinsberger, now 54, called the experiment “my slick-water frack.” It was the first commercially successful use of sand, water and chemicals, pumped into the shale under high pressure, to break open the rock and unleash the natural gas trapped inside.

It was the beginning of modern fracking.

“It was a good well, cost $600,000 or $700,000,” Mr. Steinsberger said, walking over the pad to the chain-link fence that surrounds the well. A sign identifies it as the S. H Griffin Estate 4.

Today, most wells drilled in the U.S. use some variation of Mr. Steinsberger’s fracking technique. It has unleashed an unimaginable wealth of natural gas, gas liquids and crude oil, turning the U.S. from an energy pauper into a muscular exporter.

It also started an often acrimonious environmental debate about the potential impacts and trade offs of fracking.

Continued here.

Comments
  1. Curious George says:

    It sounds like a MBA describing technology.

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