Following on to the discussion of how industry fracks a well, it’s worth looking at what happens after oil or natural gas is produced.
The raw oil or gas is transported to facilities that separate it into its various constituents. These are usually crude oil, which eventually is refined into fuels for cars, trucks, ships, and airplanes; natural gas, which heats our homes and is used in power plants to generate electricity; and natural gas liquids, which produce things like propane and butane, as well as the ethane that is transformed into plastics.
A companion chart from the IHS Energy study I previously mentioned clearly shows what is involved in the production and processing of oil and/or gas from a typical fracked well.
Perhaps most importantly, it also shows the substantial domestic benefits that a single, typical well provides in terms that are understandable for lay people.
For instance, during the first five years of the typical well’s production, the oil and liquids that are produced can provide a year’s worth of gasoline for 1,000 U.S. families and fuel for 135 cross-country airplane trips. A single well can produce the plastic building materials for 3,700 new homes, as well as the propane to heat 7,000 homes during a typical New England winter.
Why is that important? Because to truly understand what it means to drill and frack a well – which I showed in my last post – one must recognize the benefits society derives from doing so. That’s certainly something to think about this summer vacation if you find yourself on a plane, on a cruise, or taking a long car trip.
Again, feel free to download and share this chart with anyone you think would benefit from a better understanding of what the oil and gas industry does.