Energy & Mining International - Spring 2013 - (Page 32)
M O N I T O R I N G F R A C K I N G | DEPARTMENT AND FEATURES
Reducing Fracking Risks
Critical wireless IT cuts fracking risks by tracking pumps for management, accountability
and security on drilling sites. BY MARK PATTON
ast year’s $1 billion settlement between the federal government and more than 40
Native American tribes
marked a turning point in
how oil and shale gas drilling sites are
handled. In addition to bringing an end
to years of litigation over alleged mishandling of trust funds and resources by
the government, it opens the door to vast
improvements in environmental protection and drilling technology.
Many mom-and-pop drilling sites operate the same way they did 80 years ago.
On many sites, truck drivers working on
the oil rigs would simply jot down the
number of barrels on a hand-written receipt and leave it in a mailbox or mason
jar. This lack of monitoring can not only
be potentially expensive on the accounting books, but also could result in an
even more expensive environmental disaster when it comes to fracking and the
production systems used.
The technology behind oil drilling and
harvesting hasn’t changed much over
the decades. Similarly, hydraulic fracturing is a little more than 60 years old.
But horizontal slickwater fracturing, or
“fracking,” only dates back to 1998. This
economical method of extracting shale
gas and oil may be newer than the other
technologies, but the monitoring
processes have not changed.
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Energy & Mining International - Spring 2013