Manufacturing industry: New offshore fracking technology developed

Manufacturing industry: New offshore fracking technology developed

While onshore fracking, that method of extracting oil and natural gas from shale formations, has been in the news for the past several years, offshore fracking has also been around. However, as with everything done in the ocean, offshore fracking has proven to be challenging. The Houston Chronicle reports that Baker Hughes announced at a recent Offshore Technology Conference a new offshore fracking technology called DeepFrac that promises to cut hundreds of millions of dollars in costs.

The way the technology works is that it uses moveable, tube-like sleeves to control the flow of oil up from the fracking site. This feature eliminates the need for extra piping and cementing of offshore wells.

The DeepFrac technology allows for fracking of up to 20 stages, those being specific locations that are fracked in a single well, up from five. It also reduces the time needed to complete a well from weeks to a matter of days. One recent well in the Gulf of Mexico was finished in 11 days with 15 stages at a savings of $40 million and 25 days over a more conventional offshore fracking process.

The recently depressed price of oil and gas has resulted in the familiar bust cycle where offshore drilling is concerned. Just as onshore frackers have overcome the lower prices, to some extent, with new technology, offshore drillers are beginning to catch up. Thus the free flow of oil and gas at low, market prices is being assured for the long term, hopefully avoiding a future price shock as has occurred in the past.