There has been a lot of buzz about recent technological advancements in fracturing for natural gas with propane. In a recent press release that has been circulating various wire outlets, a new application of utilizing a propane gel in place of water, called liquefied propane gas (LPG) fracturing, or simply ''gas fracking'' is a new method that was developed by Gas Frac, a Canadian company looking to change the face of fracking.
Still awaiting a patent in the US, the technique has been used about 1000 times since 2008, mainly in gas wells in the Canadian provinces of Alberta, British Columbia and New Brunswick and a smaller handful of test wells in Texas, Pennsylvania, Colorado, Oklahoma and New Mexico, according to GasFrac chief technology officer Robert Lestz.
Propane is domestically produced, 97% of the propane consumed in the US is from the US. The majority of propane comes from natural gas processing and petroleum refining. So as more shale gas is explored, naturally propane's abundance should grow with the natural gas finds.
The big difference between fracturing with propane versus water is- like water, propane gel is pumped down deep into the shale formations several thousands of feet underground and creates pressure that cracks rocks, freeing trapped natural. The propane then carries small particles of sand or man-made material - known as proppant - that are forced into cracks to hold them open so the gas can flow out.
The big benefit of using propane for fracking is that it converts to vapor after being released from its pressurized liquid state in side the well, this vapor then returns to the surface and can be captured and reused for more fracking or for resale. And because it is returning in a vapor state it does not carry contaminants back to the surface. Propane fracking seems to be a much more viable long term over hydraulic fracking.
TransTech Energy, a leading propane contactor and supplier of propane storage systems, is developing portable bulk propane storage skids for natural gas processing to support the propane storage demands being creatd by this new technology and natural gas fracking in general. The storage requirements are in line with traditional propane and other LPG storage requirements, however there may be a few required modifications to the storage vessels to customize them to each site's specific application.
As demands for propane continues to increase with the expansion of markets in the US such as propane autogas alternative fuel vehicles, it is nice to see propane playing a bigger role in the exploration of natural gas and ultimately more propane.
For more information on TransTech Energy or to learn more about their propane and ngl storage tanks systems, visit them at www.TransTechEnergy.com