The Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) in San Antonio, Texas has been conducting a research project for the past six years looking for a better way to frack than using millions of gallons of water. They just may have found it. SwRI is now testing a combination of highly pressurized natural gas and water, turning it into a natural gas “foam,” to see how it performs as a fracking fluid. If the foam works, it solves two big problems for shale oil drillers: provides a way to use “unwanted” associated gas, and lack of water. The method pioneered by SwRI uses 80% less water than traditional fracking.
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