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High pressure water drilling touted as an environmentally friendly replacement for fracking

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By Babs McHugh

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Research undertaken at the Australian industry research outfit, CRCMining, into more environmentally friendly oil and gas drilling is ready to be commercialized.

The new water-jet technology can replace traditional fracking in which water, sand and chemicals are pumped into geological structures, under high pressure, to fracture the rock and release recoverable oil and gas.

The patented technology is owned by V2H International and its Australian arm is already rolling out the technology.

CEO Darren Rice said the technology could be used to access all forms of unconventional oil and gas, but he saw it as a direct competitor to hydraulic fracturing in the coal seam gas sector.

“It is much more environmentally friendly, it uses about 5 per cent of the amount of water CSG wells need and it is also much cheaper to drill wells this way,” he said.

“Instead of cracking (fracturing) the host rock, as in fracking, we drill directly into the rock using high pressure water.

“Unlike fracking, where you don’t actually have control of where the fracked area extends to, with this system we can go down to within 3 inches of where we want to be in a well.

“We can ensure that drilling with this system we never go near a water table or an aquifer.”

Mr Rice said the method would prevent the possibility of gas migrating into water bodies, a concern often voiced by those against fracking.

Extending life of existing wells with radial drilling

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Darren Rice said the method of horizontal drilling, as opposed to traditional vertical drilling, was the game changer with the water-jet technology.

“It’s called radial drilling, and it effectively turns a vertical well into a horizontal one,” Mr Rice said.

“If you look down [the vertical drill hole] you’ll see it’s like a pinwheel.

“We can go down that hole and drill out radially, maybe 120 degrees in one direction or the other.

“In Australia there’s thousands and thousands of existing wells; we could go back and effectively reopen them with radial drilling.

“We’d produce a lot more oil and gas that way, with a much smaller environmental footprint.

“Radial drilling is the technological breakthrough the oil and gas industry has been waiting for.”

V2H has secured a three-year contract with Westside and is in negotiations with major oil and gas producers in Australia and the United States.


TAGS: Oil, Gas, Drilling, Fracking


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