The traditional fracking process involves combination of a lot of water, sand, and chemicals (less than 1%), but what if hydraulic fracturing could be waterless?
Waterless fracking, also known as, LPG fracking, is a fracking technique that doesn’t use water or chemicals and has been called a, “game-changing technology.”
A waterless fracking project is to take place in New York State, despite the moratorium on fracking. If the project goes well, New York could release the moratorium all together. The developers for the site in Tioga County, New York hope to utilize a technology.
According to Business Insider, LPG fracking does not yet fall under the state’s moratorium, but could be permitted under the New York Department of Environmental Conservation‘s (DEC) 1992 Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement, according to Emily DeSantis, the DEC’s director of public information. The moratorium was imposed in 2010 after environmentalists expressed concerns that the drilling process could pose a threat to regional water supplies.
How does waterless fracking work? Propane replaces water and chemicals. The technology uses a thick gel made from propane into the ground. The gel, liquefied propane gas (LPG), converts to vapor while still underground and as a result returns to the surface in a recoverable form.
GASFRAC, a company in Texas, currently using waterless fracking techniques, can charge a 50 percent premium on gas in compared to traditional fracking companies. GASFRAC has been able to achieve significant savings in water use, truck traffic, and site cleanup costs.
Some environmental groups are skeptical about LPG fracturing and are urging New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation to conduct reviews of the technology before permitting any wells.