The Fracking Industry Is Cannibalizing Its Own Production, Increasing Spill Risks | DeSmogBlog
The first thing to understand is that this is simply a problem of the industry being greedy. The oil producers are drilling too many wells in close proximity to one another, and when they frack the newer wells — known as child wells — those “bash” or “hit” the older wells and cause problems.
In a typical frack site, the production begins with a first test well, which is known as the parent well. The wells drilled in proximity to the parent well are called child wells.
What is happening is that not only are the child wells cannibalizing the production of the existing parent well, but when the child wells are fracked they can create “frac hits” that damage the parent well. These frac hits can reduce the pressure in the parent well leading to lower production, they can damage the parent well to the point of it being a “dead” well and, of course, they can lead to spills and environmental contamination.
Claudio Virues, a senior reservoir engineer with the oil and gas company Nexen, explained the basic problem of frac hits in the Journal of Petroleum Technology.