Energy companies are beginning a large-scale transfer of operations to develop shale deposits in the area where the only possible deep-sea mining. In particular, such operations are planned to be deployed off the coast of USA, South America and Africa.
The use of hydraulic fracturing has become one of the most favorable technologies for the extraction of gas and oil in the last century. But it's also one of the most controversial technologies, as experts are talking about severe contamination of soil and groundwater.
The question now is, how strong disputes will erupt now, when such technology will be used at great depths.
"This is the most complex and severe conditions in which we work, said a Halliburton engineer Ron M. dusterhoft chief. – We just can't afford technical hitch".
The use of hydraulic fracturing offshore is part of a broader industry-wide strategy that will allow you to recoup billions in deepwater development. Conversations about it went for two decades, but only in the last few years new technologies and new discoveries have made this possible.
The process gradually developing along the coasts of Brazil and Africa, and also planned operations in the Gulf of Mexico where fields are distant more than 100 miles from the coastline. The cost of drilling there would amount to almost $100 million.
Such costly projects are a boon to service companies such as Halliburton, Baker Hughes, Superior Energy Services and Schlumberger. But oil companies, including Chevron, Royal Dutch Shell and BP will make billions of dollars in additional revenue in the long term.
When using fracturing during the work on the shelf the dirty water flows back to a drilling platform, where it is filtered and then discharged back. According to companies and regulators, such actions do not cause damage to the environment.
But critics of the technology actively oppose such drilling. For example, the question about banning the use of hydraulic fracturing in some areas.
Experts say that should be a more detailed environmental review, as the chemicals used in fracking fluid, which then falls into the ocean can damage the ecosystem.
Apparently, detailed studies of the influence of technology in the work at sea was carried out.
For some of the largest fields in the world needed ships that can carry more than 3 tons of weight in the form of people and equipment, including equipment and tons of sand.
Since the equipment for work on the shelf has become increasingly popular, the world fleet of such vessels increased by 31% since 2007, according to Offshore Magazine. This is comparable with all ground facilities of Russia.
The total capacity of pumps used for deep-water drilling, is expected to grow another 28% by the end of 2018, reaching 1.2 million horsepower.
The problem is that drilling in the Gulf of Mexico have to go through the dense layers of the Lower Tertiary zone. Traditionally, multi-layered education must be taken gradually, that is layer by layer for maximum impact. But Halliburton and other companies have found a way to save time and money, going through all layers at one time.
More work means even greater volumes of water, sand, equipment and the oil itself, and therefore the ships also need more.
"Problems become more sophisticated, said Credit Suisse analyst James told. – The volume required for the lower tertiary strata, is huge."
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