Growth in hydraulic fracturing puts new pressures on
Canadian governments, like many around the globe, face a
conundrum. Canadians consume energy conspicuously, but many oppose
energy development passionately. The public disclosure of chemicals
used in hydraulic fracturing, coupled with the desire to foster
innovation by protecting trade secrets, is a recent example of the
Hydraulic fracturing involves pumping a fluid (usually water) at
high pressure through a wellbore into a rock formation. The
pressurized fluid opens up fractures in the rock and sand is used
to keep the fractures open, resulting in increased oil and gas
production. While they constitute only a small percentage of the
total fracturing fluid, chemical additives play special roles in
solving particular problems, such as keeping the sand in the water
long enough to make it to the back of the fractures instead of
dropping out and clogging the bottom of the well, making the
operation a failure. Other chemicals make the fluids slippery to
aid pumping by reducing friction. Also used are corrosion and scale
inhibitors, crosslinkers and biocides.
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