A number of people, including this writer (here and here, among other posts), have been advocating use of benign substances for hydraulic fracturing.  There are indications that such is possible.

For example, in a recent article,  the Washingon Post noted that

Oilfield services giant Schlumberger said it is developing “green” fracturing fluids. Range Resources said it has figured out how to recycle 100 percent of the waste water from drilling.

Now,  ”100 percent” of drilling wastewater cannot be recycled, obviously, inasmuch as not all of the fluid injected into the subsurface will come out. A modified claim of being able to recycle 100 percent of extracted fluid requires further inspection:  treatment residuals (sludges, for example) will come out the back end of such a recycling system, so things are more complicated than the statement implies.

Delving deeper, it seems that Schlumberger already is using “green” fracturing fluids in ocean operations requiring that ocean life not be adversely affected. As the company brags here:

Meeting stringent environmental guidelines in both the U.K. North Sea and the Gulf of Mexico (GOM), the new Schlumberger GreenSlurry system delivers consistent, earth-friendly performance. This slurry system, developed for use in all types of fracturing and gravel-packing operations in environmentally sensitive regions, features a unique carrier fluid.

For North Sea use, the slurry gel must pass these toxicity tests in addition to strict guidelines on bioaccumulation, such as
-Skeletonema costatum
-Sheepshead minnow.

Here’s a shot from their brochure of one of the shrimp they are protecting:


Shrimp Saved by Schlumberger's Greenslurry Fracturing Approach

Now, you’re talking, except I’ve been unable to find a Material Safety Datasheet on this stuff.  Does anybody have one?  An MSDS is a good first step toward learning what chemical compounds are in this stuff. Send me an MSDS on this Greenslurry material, and we’ll give you an honorable mention at Environment Memo, or an Environment Memo T-shirt, whichever comes first!