Propane fracking is the new alternative to hydrofracking. Both processes have the same goal in mind. This goal is to open up the rock bed below the surface to allow more of the trapped hydrocarbons to be released, so they can be recovered.
A part of the process that both have in common is that they alternative to hydrofracking. By applying pressure to the well with a slurry medium, fissures are formed in the rock bed and the sand filters into the cracks. When the pressure is released, the sand remains behind to keep the fissures open. These openings allow for the trapped oil and natural gas to escape which can be recovered at the surface. In most cases, before the slurry mixture is introduced to the well, an acid solution is deposited into the well to soften up the rock bed.
In hydrofracking, the slurry consists mainly of water and sand along with some hydrocarbons, if the well master deems it necessary. In propane fracking, the slurry consists of a specially prepared gel that is made up of liquid propane and sand. Both of these slurries do the same job to the same degree. The difference between them is the recovery of the slurry mixture.
With hydrofracking, the slurry is recovered over a period of days. The water and sand mixture is channeled to a settling pond nearby. Between 25% and 82% of this slurry is recovered from a well.
The propane fracking process has a higher rate of recovery, nearly 100%. This is because the liquid propane turns to a gas and is easily collected at the well bore. This recovery generally takes less than a day so the production at the well can commence with a shorter delay than with hydrofracking.
Click here to read a previous post on propane fracking.