A Texas oil and gas company has just completed the successful trialing of an Eagle Ford shale hydraulic fracturing well using propane and butane instead of water.
Jadela Oil Corp’s El Indio #1 well is producing oil, gas, butane and hydrocarbons following testing last week.
A company press release says 5360 barrels of liquid propane/butane was injected into the shale formation to fracture the well. Most of the liquid petroleum gas is expected to be recovered and resold, or recycled for use in subsequent wells.
Traditional hydraulic fracturing – or fracking – operations use millions of gallons of water mixed with chemicals and sand, which are injected at high pressure into the earth to free trapped oil and gas reserves.
But most of the water remains trapped underground or has to be disposed of as contaminated waste water. Fracking operations have also been linked to contaminated drinking water.
A new option being developed is to swap water for propane gas, which is then recaptured as it escapes from the earth, making the process cleaner and safer.
Canadian company GasFrac Energy Services is leading the industry in the use of propane in fracking operations and has been providing pumping horsepower and expertise on the Jadela well.
The well was trialed late last month then shut to test the purity of its recovered propane/butane for resale. It is back up and running now and Jadela said the oil recovery rate was increasing as the fracking propane/butane was recovered. The company is acquiring additional equipment to increase the propane recovery rate.
The well was expected to be shut during the construction of propane recycling equipment and well site facilities. Jadela was also outsourcing the construction of a pipeline, permanent battery equipment and a pipeline hookup with West Texas Gas.