Protecting the community
To minimise traffic disruptions, trucks used to carry equipment and hydraulic fracturing fluids are required to use designated routes during specified hours of the day and week. Though the noise levels from the site may be low, acoustic barriers may be installed around the perimeter of the area to reduce nuisance sound levels even further. Once an unconventional gas well is producing, there is no detectable sound from the operation.
Protecting the groundwater
Hydraulic fracturing occurs far below the groundwater aquifer. Groundwater is protected by thousands of feet of impermeable rock and an engineered well casing design consisting of several layers of steel casing and cement to provide isolation. The multiple layers of impermeable rock between the water supply and the gas-bearing rock ensure the fracks do not extend into the groundwater aquifer.
Protecting the landscape
Viable sources of unconventional gas can sometimes be found in small, isolated zones within a few yards of each other. During the drilling stage, a vertical wellbore is typically drilled one to one and a half miles below the surface. Multiple horizontal deviations can then be drilled to reach the different gas reservoirs.
Horizontal drilling has led to the development of multi-well pad technology, which allows for one drill site to include a number of producing wells that can access reservoirs up to 8,000 feet away from the vertical well. Instead of having single well pads spread throughout the community, multi-well pads can significantly limit the surface impact.