A COMPARATIVE STUDY BETWEEN HYDRAULIC AND ELECTRIC FRACTURING TECHNOLOGIES
Henda Jabberi Faouzi Ben Ammar
Exploitation of shale gas in Tunisia is at a very early stage, but with the latest estimates suggesting potential resources of 389 Million Tonne of Oil Equivalent, it is observed by many as an exciting economic prospect. However, its environmental impacts are presently unknown. This is the focus of this paper, which estimates the life cycle impacts of Tunisian shale gas using hydraulic fracturing process for the first time. Hydraulic fracturing technology for unconventional gas is compared to electric fracturing alternative. A Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) approach was achieved throughout six stages for both hydraulic and electric fracturing technologies including site preparation, exploration, development, production, distribution and wells enclosure focusing on both exploration and development stages of the process. The SimaPro Software based on Impact 2002+ model 2.10 was used as an assessment tool to indicate quantitatively the environmental impacts. The results of LCA affirm that the process of hydraulic fracturing contributes to the impact category such as Climate Change, Human Health, Ecosystem Quality and Resources. The life cycle greenhouse emissions of Tunisia shale gas are estimated to be about 60 g CO2e/MJ of the gas produced using hydraulic fracturing technology and around 20 g CO2e/MJ of the gas produced using electric fracturing technology. The results of this research highlight the need for the use of another alternative method to minimize environmental impacts
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