State-run petroleum explorer Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) said it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Super Wave Technology (SWTPL) for development of an alternative to hydraulic fracturing or fracking technology that is used to produce shale oil and gas.
Hydraulic fracturing, successfully employed in US, has led that nation to surplus shale oil and gas production in the past few years but requires water in huge quantities. SWTPL is a company incorporated by Society for Innovation and Development at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) Bangalore.
"With this partnership, ONGC will provide assistance to SWTPL for developing Shock Wave Assisted Fracking Technology, an alternate to the conventional hydraulic fracturing. If proven effective as a substitute to hydraulic fracturing, in particular for shale gas exploitation, it will be a game changer for the oil and gas industry," ONGC said in a statement.
The MoU was signed in Bangalore today in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan, ONGC Chairman and Managing Director D K Sarraf and IISc Director Professor Anurag Kumar.
Hydraulic fracturing requires very large quantities of fresh water and huge quantity of energy for its pumping at high pressures. Under the technique, the oil well produces substantial quantity of effluent water which needs to be disposed. These are some of the issues that are bothering the current hydro-fracturing technology.
Therefore, the global oil & gas industry has been searching of late for alternate technique for fracturing which requires minimum or no quantity of water.
"Shock Waves are one of the most efficient energy dissipation phenomena. Sudden release of massive amount of energy in a miniscule space triggers the formation of these waves. The impulse generated by these waves can be used for many interesting and innovative applications," the statement said.
As part of the new project, SWTPL proposes to use shock or blast waves for initiating fractures in sandstone or shale reservoirs located initially at depths of 1,000-1,500 meter. ONGC claimed the pact will promote development and field implementation of Shock Waves technology for oil and gas fields. If successful, the technology will be jointly patented by ONGC and SWTPL for further commercial benefits worldwide.