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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Platts interviews CEO of waterless fracking company

Platts has posted a short video interview with Zeke Zeringue, the President and CEO of GASFRAC Energy Services, the company that uses liquid propane gel (LPG) in place of water for fracking.

In the 8 minute-long video, Zeringue discusses the technology, the early mishaps - explosions - that occurred using the technology, and improved safety measures that his company has developed.  He also discusses his what he says are the benefits of LPG fracking - increased production, reduced chemical use, and drastically reduced truck traffic - that make the process attractive economically.  He mentions the current water withdrawal restrictions in PA which have crimped drilling activity as another driver that favors the adoption of his company's process.

Zeringue said that GASFRAC is working in all of the shale basins in the US - including the Marcellus and Utica basins. While he does not think that water-based fracking will "ever go away," he sees LPG fracking as an increasingly attractive alternative - once it is proven and accepted.

That is the key.  The technology is viewed in the US as experimental. The technology will have to prove itself and the industry will have to accept it if it is to be widely deployed.  And before it can come into wide use, an understanding of the impacts of the technology will need to be developed. Regulations will undoubtedly have to catch up with this new technology, just as it still does with conventional fracking. Time will tell whether LPG and other waterless fracking technologies present an opportunity to safely and economically produce gas with reduced environmental and public health impacts.


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