Concentration Reporting Unique in Colorado Hydraulic Fracturing (Fracking) Disclosure Law Now in Effect. Companies Turn to Precision Flow Meters for Accurate Reporting.

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April 1, 2012 Colorado follows Texas this year adopting chemical disclosure law with added requirement for concentration reporting. Domestic flow meter manufacturer Max Machinery, Inc. answers Well Service Industry's call for high accuracy measurement of chemicals.

Many states have adopted hydraulic fracturing disclosure regulations but the new Colorado law specifically requires reporting of additive chemical concentrations. Colorado may be the first state to do so, but with the US Environmental Protection Agency's ongoing study of Hydraulic Fracturing combined with an increasing public interest in the effects of Natural Gas drilling, additional states enacting stricter reporting requirements is inevitable. Both to aid the EPA in this evaluation—and to prepare for likely expansion of current regulations—well service providers are monitoring and reporting Fracking chemical usages on their own.

As the industry trends towards more detailed reporting, flow meter manufacturers like Max Machinery, Inc. of Healdsburg, CA have seen an increase in the use of flow metering technology as part of chemical monitoring in Fracking. Specifically, due to their low flow rate and high resolution measurement capabilities, the use of precision gear meters has more than doubled in the oil and gas industry. “These companies need reliability and precision, this is not a time to rely on low resolution of oversized flow meters, that’s why they turn to us” said Max Machinery, Inc spokesperson Paul Hock. “For over 30 years, Max has provided flow meters to the petrochemical and oil & gas industries to measure chemical injection flow rates but in the past 5 years we have seen exponential growth in the number of meters being purchased for Fracking”.

Correct dosing has become a joint goal of both the drilling engineers and the EPA. To fully access the domestic natural gas supply, drillers are carefully balancing the needs of both Production and Compliance. This means ensuring their operation has technology that is accurate, rugged and dependable.

“It’s easy to see why the Max model G015 is specified in the industry, our meters are state-of-the-art [they can verify amounts at very low rates] but they are also affordable.”

About Hydralic Fracturing (Fracking):
Hydraulic fracture enhancement is commonly applied to wells drilled in natural gas-bearing rock which exhibits low permeability. An estimated 90% of the natural gas wells in the US use hydraulic fracturing to produce gas at economic rates.

Drilling a borehole or well involves applying downward pressure to a rotating drill bit. This drilling action produces rock chips and fine rock particles that may enter cracks and pore spaces at the wellbore wall, resulting in damage to the permeability at and near the wellbore. The damage reduces flow into the borehole from the surrounding rock formation, and partially seals off the borehole from the surrounding rock. Hydraulic fracturing can be used to mitigate this damage.

A hydraulic fracture is formed by pumping the fracturing fluid into the wellbore at a rate sufficient to increase the pressure down hole. The pressure causes the natural cracks in the formation to expand, allowing the fracturing fluid to enter and extend the crack farther into the formation. To keep this fracture open after the injection stops, a solid, commonly a round sand is injected to hold the fracture open while offering a permeable media for the gas to pass through.

The fracture fluid can be any number of gases or fluids, but is usually a mixture of water and foaming agents, corrosion inhibitors, methanol and cross linkers. Depending on the geological nature of the formation, various blends will provide better results. Once an optimal blend has been determined, a chemical additive unit is installed at the site to accurately monitor the chemical additions to the high pressure water stream. As many as 5 metered streams may be used to create the required mixture.

“New domestic natural gas supplies could have a transformative effect on U.S. energy policy, our economy and our energy security,” former U.S. Senators Byron Dorgan and Trent Lott, co-chairs of The Bipartisan Policy Center's Energy Project, write in their report Shale Gas: New Opportunities, New Challenges. “Because natural gas has many diverse end-uses, any expansion of low-cost domestic supply has far-reaching positive economic impacts. It is critical that this resource be developed responsibly so that we can gain these benefits.” Despite this endorsement, additional environmental challenges continue to arise and the primary enhancement technique, hydraulic fracturing can expect to see stricter monitoring requirements in the future.

About the Max Model G015 Flow Meter:
The Model G015 can report flow rates to the tenths of a ml/min and are used to hold the fracturing chemical recipe to the exact proportions. Armed with this level of flow measurement, operators can continually verify an accurate down hole mixture and don’t have to rely on pump RPM or low resolution pressure gauging to try and detect the flow rates of the mix.

About Max Machinery:
Max Machinery, manufacturers high precision liquid flow meters based on the principal of positive displacement: gears, pistons and helical rotors (

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David Scharer
Max Machinery
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