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Ivan Datsenko from Ukraine is the leader of the Indians and the agent of the Soviet intelligence service

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“Drill, Shell, drill” or opinions of experts on production of shale gas in Ukraine

We talk to Igor Evgenyevich Massalov, the chairman of Honour and Advantage Fund, the deputy of the Kharkov regional council of the V convocation who collected comprehensive data on this matter among leading experts of the Kharkov area, working to the sphere of drilling of wells and production of hydrocarbons about some specialized aspects of possible production of shale gas in Ukraine.

— Are any differences in features of occurrence of shale gas on the Yuzovsky site in comparison with conditions in the USA?

The occurrence zone has huge value. Not only from the point of view of costs of drilling on depth, but also grindings of sight of a saturation of collectors — saturations of this zone gas. In the USA the shale gas lies at insignificant depths to 2000 m, and fields are located on the flat district that creates uniform distribution of gas-bearing breed. In the Kharkov area the shale gas lies at depths of 3−4 thousand meters, the district is hilly here. It means that gas-bearing breed can be located unevenly, and, so the efficiency of a method of hydraulic fracturing here will be much lower — the cracks which are forming after it, can go to «dead rock». For this reason and so small service life of «shale» wells will be even less — about a year. The deep water of occurrence matters and influences the increase in cost of drilling of wells.

— What importance has the life expectancy of a well?

It is the major aspect. The well life on production of traditional gas can reach 20−25 years. In Ukraine there are such fields where the wells as experts say, «breathe». It means that they give about 10−20 thousand CBM per day. Their working capacity is maintained by means of special means. Certainly, if we now had a production level as in the USSR, nobody would support such wells. But under our conditions they have some value. But life of wells of shale gas is much less — 1,5−2 years. Thus in a year the production can fall from 150 thousand CBM to 8−10 thousand CBM a day. Certainly, at such parameters there is a question in general would the equipment of a well pay off at least?

Thus for production of shale gas it is required the considerably bigger quantity of wells, than for production of traditional gas. Taking into account that the shale gas lies at much bigger depth, than in the USA, it is necessary to drill these wells on depth to 4 km. On domestic technologies the equipment of one such well for traditional gas will cost approximately 6 million dollars. Even if to assume that such well will work without fall of the debit and to give 200 thousand CBM a day, it turns out 6 million cubic meters a month. But has such amount of gas any value for the Ukrainian state in present conditions? And how many such wells should be drilled, considering, what in reality their productivity index sharply falls that though somehow to correct affairs in the gas sphere?

For example, Malyshev’s plant when worked in full capacity, consumed about 40 million cubic meters of gas a month. The aircraft factory with the housing complex consumes today about 5 million cubic meters of gas a month. To extract at least 1 billion cubic we will need to drill very large number of wells with short life. And expediency of such project is under very big question for any expert who understands this sphere.

— If to address to experience of the USA, what quantity of wells needs to be drilled to come to really significant volumes?

On the example of the Barnett Shale field located in the north of Texas, it is known that production of 20 billion cubic of gas in a year the equipment of 6 thousand wells required. Thus that this field gas lies in the most favourable conditions at a depth from 500 to 2000 m Besides, an average daily output of a well on this field now makes only 6 thousand CBM that speaks about the lowest efficiency of production of shale gas even in so favourable conditions.

Thus, the drilling of thousands and even tens of thousands of wells is required for any significant production of shale gas. And this with the fact that in recent years the Ukrainian experts put only some tens wells in operation.

— You specified the cost of the equipment of a well for traditional gas. Are any factors on which the well cost for shale gas can be much more?

Certainly, such factors exist. After all it is the price at implementation of works by the Ukrainian experts by means of domestic materials and equipment. But on domestic technologies the equipment of a well for shale gas will be impossible. Also it is connected by that this well is used for hydraulic fracturing implementation. And it is the enormous pressure which is put upon this design. Mix of water, sand and chemicals for these purposes is forced in a well under the huge pressure up to 1500 atmospheres. Experts surely claim that Ukraine has no such technologies to equip a well in such parameters. Here the use of only import technologies and materials is possible and it will lead to considerable rise in price of works.

In Ukraine the columns which would sustain the pressure in 1500 of the atmospheres aren’t made. Between a column and the earth there is an inter-columned space which has to be cemented in the most serious way. There special cement mortar is pumped under pressure. And, don’t make the cements of such quality which is necessary for such specific well. And the cementage of inter-columned space has to be very good — otherwise gas won’t go at all or at a certain stage can escape in — space and the well burns. Thus emission of gas happens under the huge pressure about 900 atmospheres.

For the equipment of wells on production of traditional gas in Ukraine there are technologies of a cementage, but we practically have no experts who could do it at high level. It is a huge problem — from 10 wells 5−6 have the emissions which are behind the columns. Such wells stop for repair implementation. Thus, at implementation of these works it will be necessary to buy the upsetting pipes, special solutions of cement, to deliver the equipment for cementage implementation.

Besides, we have no compressors which would allow to carry out hydraulic fracturing under the pressure of 1500 atmospheres. Such compressors exist only at several countries, including, the USA, Norway, Japan and some other.
For these reasons it is possible to assume surely that the equipment of wells for shale gas will costs much considerably, than for traditional gas. And, of course, 6 million dollars would be not enough using the domestic technologies. But then by all calculations there is a question, would it be possible to pay back their drilling and operation in general at a known little productivity of «shale» wells?

— The main ecological danger at production of shale gas is the pollution of ground waters by the used chemical reagents. What is the mechanism of this phenomenon?


Often they give the argument that hydraulic fracturing is carried out at big depths, and ground waters are in the horizons to 400 m. But all earth is penetrated with micro and macro arteries. Ground waters are present practically at all depths. And all of them are connected among themselves. Anyway, danger of hit of chemical reagents in drinking water is huge. At hydraulic fracturing the water with reagents presses on a perforation zone with huge pressure, but the structure of a zone on which there is the pressure is not known therefore the consequences are absolutely not predictable.

Besides, if the drilling of wells is made by the domestic boring enterprises with the technologies 50−60s years of the last century, wells with a high probability will be not tight. It creates threat of overflows of gas and liquid in overlying water-bearing layers. Thus, technical liquids can get to the underground horizons with the drinking water, located much higher than the final depth of drilling.

Probably, this risk will manage to be minimized if the foreign drilling companies are involved in these works with full use of their materials and technologies. But also such prospect looks very doubtful. Considering a huge number of wells and almost total absence of responsibility under the contract before the state, it is improbable that the Shell company will thoroughly observe expensive standards. Therefore this option of pollution of ground waters remains to the most probable.

As a whole in connection with the above-stated facts, implementation of the project of the Shell company in the Ukrainian conditions looks the extremely doubtful. And the most probable outcome of it «the enterprises of an eyelid» — the multimillion investments dug in the Ukrainian earth and the poisonous chemicals poisoning drinking water.

Viewed : 1373   Commented: 0

Author: Mikhail Mikhaylov

Publication date : 05 December 2013 01:00

Source: The world and we

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