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Fracking Earthquakes Aren’t Quite What They’re Cracked Up To Be!

It is great to be back in the swing of fracking and watching the industry continue to transform and mature. We just get better and better! Thanks to Iran threatening war over sanctions, the oil price ride is about to get interesting. We will provide industry analysis in coming months and other insights on potential industry disruptions and technology advances. Changes are coming!

Some areas of interest are frac sand logistics (improved portable boxes), concrete and asphalt additives (stronger, lighter, and cheaper), frac sand processing (faster, cheaper, cleaner and improved crush rating and turbidity), improved mud mixes, frac sand logistics (cheaper), water transport, road treatments, and water cleaning (on site, reducing water hauling in and out). It is amazing some of the technologies we have seen. We will be sharing what we are able in future articles.

Many companies are using portable boxes. And, portable boxes are already going through changes, as second and third generation designs are hitting the market. Have you heard of the lower angle gravity box that holds more and has a vibration system for shaking out the sand? More on that later….

Today, I’d like to shake some perspectives on the fracking earthquake issues. Investors and drillers may find this interesting. There has been a lot of controversy on the topic and with due cause. Oklahoma and Texas have been rocking and rolling with earthquakes! I don’t disagree that fracking or waste water wells can contribute to earthquake activity. However……

The scientific explanation on fracking earthquakes is that oil drilling and waste water disposal cause shifts at fault lines when water and fluids are pumped into the earth’s crust. This weakens pressure points where plates are grinding against each other, especially when flushed with water. But, there is more to this story.

Have you ever heard of Duchinese? I confess…… I am a bit of a science geek. Duchinese posts earthquake predictions on Youtube. Yes, you read that correctly. Here is an earthquake prediction he did last week. If your time is limited, start at the 51 minutes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8jHVH12KyBU He reviews fault line activity and forecasts the magnitude and location of the next earthquakes. His accuracy is impressive. His predictions are based on the transfer of energy along fault lines. Earthquakes will take place along fault lines whether assisted by fracking or not. Based on USGS records, the volume of earthquakes has significantly increased worldwide in recent years. Check out info from this Newsok article by J.F.Marks. For the full article, visit: https://newsok.com/article/4983503/geologist-history-shows-oklahoma-earthquakes-not-new-phenomenon

“Global swarm: Brown (Glen Brown, who is VP of Geology at Continental Resources, Inc.) said the increasing number of earthquakes rattling Oklahoma coincides with higher activity worldwide, as it has in the past. He also noted much of Oklahoma’s earthquake activity has been in different areas than where companies have drilled for oil and natural gas. His research shows Oklahoma has experienced 18 earthquakes with a magnitude of 4 of higher since 2002, while the world has seen a marked rise in major quakes. That includes the 9.0 quake in Japan that spawned a massive tsunami in 2011. Brown said a similar Oklahoma earthquake swarm came and went in the 1950s. There were 30 earthquakes reported over just more than a decade at a time when such records were compiled based on what people felt because there ……………….. Brown said there have been similar earthquakes recently in Virginia and South Carolina, where there is no oil and gas exploration, while seismic activity seems to be increasing in Mexico, as well. He said the Naica region in central Mexico has experienced more earthquakes than Oklahoma, with no more explanation. “That’s geology,” Brown said. “You have about 10 percent of the data set to figure out what you know.”

Fracking assists in releasing pressure along fault lines and causing smaller earthquakes. If not for fracking, consider that when pressure isn’t released in smaller increments, it could build up to cause more damaging earthquakes.

Fault lines run through most of the U.S. oil plays! Check out this map: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laurentia

Last summer was interesting from a seismic perspective. The largest earthquake in 40 years hit the northern tip of Yosemite’s magna base in Montana. If you aren’t familiar with this region, Yosemite’s magna base runs underneath four states. Yosemite National Park is the top of a super nova, which could devastate the region, if it blows (if it does, stock up on canned goods!). Activity in the region transferred down the fault line to Oklahoma and Texas.

When Duchinese’s reviews seismic activity, he searches Google Earth to identify the location of an earthquake. Most of the time, it shows an area near or directly at a caldera for a volcano that erupted thousands of years ago. Earthquake points in Oklahoma and Kansas, often show fracking, geothermal, or waste water sites.

It gets more interesting. Pressure points where there is a release and earthquake, follow along the fault lines until the pressure dissipates. Duchinese shows how an earthquake in California leads to energy released in the Bakken, down in Texas and Oklahoma, and up into Ohio and the Northeast. Interpreted into an oilfield perspective, earthquakes on one of the two major faults in California result in earthquakes in Oklahoma and Texas and are predictable.

Fracking, may boost earthquake activity but it is not the sole cause!

The plates on the earth’s crust have been moving for thousands of years.

Volcanic activity and earthquakes are directly related and both have picked up significantly worldwide. Hawaii is a good example and so is the Japan tsunami. Fracking may help increase fault pressure releases but it isn’t the cause of volcanic and earthquake activity worldwide. Things are moving and it just happens that fracking is active at a time when there is increased activity overall.

Volcanoes are also heating up. Global warming, if you believe it, may not be fossil fuel driven. First, a major volcanic eruption can put off more CO2 than an entire year of CO2 emissions from the U.S. Volcanic activity is increasing on the ocean floors too. Some scientists believe that ocean waters are warming due to active lava flows on ocean floors. Ultimately, this may contribute to mass fish deaths and dying coral reefs.

For those of you working where seismic activity is prevalent, you can argue that fracking isn’t the sole cause. Long after frackers have retired fields and that new invention from Ohio State is burning fossil fuels without CO2 output, volcanic activity and earthquakes will still be shaking things up along the fault lines! It’s just not all the frackers fault! LOL Sometimes I crack myself up!

Have a great week

Jen

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