The global demand for petroleum oil continues to rise all over the world. North America remains the leading consumer of this product, followed by Asia and Europe. In the United States and Canada, oil is used more often for transportation needs than for heat and power; however, in most other parts of the world, it is completely the opposite. This is why the demand for oil in the northern part of the globe increases during the cold winter months.
Although the supply and demand for oil fluctuates, there are often significant problems with its supply, encouraging countries such as the United States to look for alternative fuel sources to supply their never-ending demand for this product. One potentially useful substitute for petroleum oil is natural gas.
Natural Gas Supplies
Because the need for oil keeps increasing, better refinery technology has been introduced in the United States in order to maximize its production the petroleum to meet this increased demand.
There is also a huge economic significance in the recent discovery of Marcellus Shale. This revelation has exposed an immense volume of recoverable natural gas in the eastern part of the United States and has greatly improved the economic conditions of the entire region. Since the demand for energy in the United States continues to increase, Marcellus Shale plays a vital role in the supply of natural gas and has the potential to reduce the import of foreign supplies of petroleum fuel.
The requirements for producing natural gas in relation to the exploration of Marcellus Shale can be categorized into various workforce activities which include pre-drilling, drilling, and production. Many companies actively participate in this drilling process. According to the Pennsylvania Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the current number of drilled wells is 1,386, all of which produce millions of cubic feet of natural gas per day.
There are several techniques used to increase the productivity of a well, such as hydraulic fracturing or “hydrofracing,” which uses pressurized fluid to fracture the various rock layers. Using highly-pressurized fluid, water is injected into an isolated part of the drilled hole to fracture solid rock and create an opening. Vacuum trucks play an important role in this drilling process. Using these vehicles, water is carried to and from the site and mixed with “proppant,” a material or another type of particulate that prevents the fractures from closing once the fluid is pumped into the well. Vacuum trucks are also essential in restoring the site to its original state, leaving few traces of any drilling activity.
The demand for oil in the world market is expected to taper due to the improvement of the internal combustion engine and the use of bio-fuels or natural gases. The continued discovery and production of shale oil in the United States has the potential to significantly lower the price of oil. The process used for drilling in search of natural gas is greatly aided by powerful vacuum trucks that carry water to and from these sites and help in the clean-up efforts once the drilling has been completed!