Sweetwater High School graduate Robert Reyes made a visit back to the area to offer a presentation recently at the local Rotary Club meeting.
Reyes, a 1994 graduate of SHS, is also a graduate of Texas Tech with a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering. He is currently employed as an engineer with Halliburton in the Permian Basin, having many of his written works regarding his field published.
The presentation to the club was on shale fracking, which will be how the Cline Shale oil development will play out. Reyes gave a shale development overview, noting that Halliburton strives to be conscientious of the environment and practice safety while presenting data and science, not propaganda.
A history of natural gas in the United States was given, as well as when the first commercial fracking job took place. While around 18 shales are in play nationwide today, a geological time scale suggests that the development has been millions of years in the making through the collision and eventual separation of the continents.
Reyes also noted the current debate in the county between state and federal oversight. He said that federal involvement has halted economic growth, while drilling in privately held land has boosted the economy.
Various states, including Texas, have regulations currently under review. The main one outlined by Reyes was HB 3328, which allows for chemical disclosure. If the measure were to pass, Reyes compared its repercussions to Coca-Cola sharing the secret on how they make the soft drink.
According to data from 2000, natural gas has grown from 1% to 25% of being a source of electric generation. By 2035, the number is estimated to become 35%.
One of the maps presented was the national shales: their discovery, development and eventual maturation. For instance, the Barnett Shale was discovered in 1980 and set the stage for modern development, becoming a learning tool for future operations.
Hydraulic fracking was detailed, being defined as the use of fluids to create a pathway to a well. Highlights were given on its objective and comparisons between radial and linear flow.
Also noted in the presentation were well construction and its conditions. Sources of information were also given to wrap up the presentation, including the controversial video Truthland found on YouTube, which accuses Halliburton of putting gas in drinking water due to the company's work.
Several questions were posed to Reyes after his presentation, notably about the work of the incoming Cline Shale oil development.
The most critical question asked was on how long the area shale would impact the area, as many have speculated that change would be felt for the next decade. However, Reyes responded that the next 200 years would feel the effects of the Cline Shale, in that the grandchildren of today's society would benefit from the oil development.