Webinar to focus on the technology of hydraulic fracturing proppants

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — To extract natural gas from deep shale formations like the Marcellus, scientists developed a process using "proppants" in the fluid used in hydraulic fracturing. A Web-based seminar offered by Penn State Extension will focus on those materials, which are designed to keep induced fractures open.

This presentation, from 1 to 2 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 18, will feature Marc McQuesten, vice president of Preferred Proppants/DustPRO. He will discuss the role of proppants — typically a solid material such as sand, treated sand or man-made ceramic — and current technological advances in hydraulic fracturing.

Unconventional shale-gas development benefitted from new technologies in horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing operations, McQuesten noted. The use of proppants is a key factor in getting natural gas from these tight sources.

"Rapid efficiencies have been realized in hydraulic fracturing in recent years, with longer laterals, tighter cluster spacing, increased proppant loading and faster drilling times — all leading to lowering the cost of gas extraction," he said. "That said, average recovery factors for the domestic unconventional resource base are well below the global average."

While efficiency has been realized quickly, adoption of technology by operators has been surprisingly slow, McQuesten pointed out. "Companies continue to develop innovative and sustainable technologies that enable oil and gas companies to mitigate price and maximize production at the well site," he said.

The webinar is free, but registration is necessary. To register, visit the Penn State Extension Natural Gas Events Web page. More information is available on the website or by contacting Carol Loveland at 570-320-4429 or cal24@psu.edu.

Penn State Extension's Marcellus Education Team provides monthly webinars on a variety of topics. Upcoming webinars include the following:

  • March 3: "Pipeline Infrastructure Taskforce Report: Review and Next Steps," presented by Kenneth Klemow, associate director of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research, Wilkes University, and Dave Messersmith, Penn State Extension Marcellus Education Team educator.
  • March 10: "Renewed Competitiveness for U.S. Plastics from Shale Energy," presented by Martha Gilchrist Moore, senior director, policy analysis and economics, American Chemistry Council.
  • April 28: "Evolving Roles of Shale Gas in Central and Distributed Power Generation Scenarios," presented by James Freihaut, Penn State architectural engineer, who is technical director of the Energy Efficient Buildings Hub at the Philadelphia Navy Yard.

Previous webinars, publications and information also are available on the Penn State Extension natural-gas website, covering a variety of topics, such as Act 13; seismic testing; methane emissions; water use and quality; natural gas liquids regional development; natural gas reserves; gas-leasing considerations for landowners; legal issues surrounding gas development; and the impact of Marcellus gas development on forestland.

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Last Updated February 17, 2016