Effect Of Fractionating Fluids, And Additives On The Effectiveness/Environmental

1 Abstract

This study was purposed to examine how using different fracturing fluids and additives impacts the effectiveness and environmental consequences of hydraulic fracturing operations. Hydraulic fracturing is also utilized in low-permeability sediments and other subsurface formations for increased vapor extraction efficiency and remediation of contaminated sites. The process of hydraulic fracking is preceded by site preparation and drilling preliminary stages. The fracking fluid used in the injection is composed of a mixture of sand, water, and different chemicals with a range of toxicity and is first pumped into the earth’s surface through the drilled well bore. Rushing the fluids over the layers of the shale rock crevices result in high intensity, pressure, and chemicals forced through the crevices, and cracks of shale rock, allowing the production of oils and gases. Water contamination due to fracking arises from unprecedented leakages in storage areas, leaks from injection wells, and residuals applied to the land surfaces. Clearing of land leads to land leads to massive loss of habitat, increased habitat edges along the landscapes, and unprecedented land fragmentation. Greenhouse gases produced during fracturing contribute to air pollution. Fracturing fluids have the potential to increase pressure in the fissures and faults and counter the effects of frictional forces, increasing the chances of earthquakes. Adopting a design strategy with several casing layers will limit the possibility of surface leakages, thereby reducing water contamination. The effects of earthquakes can be mitigated by adopting proper seismic protocols and adjusting injection rates. The effects of habitat disturbance could be reduced by adopting land reclamation procedures and using effective drilling equipment.

Keywords: Fracturing, fracturing fluids, shale rock, environmental impact, mitigation strategies

Introduction

Fracking (hydraulic fracking) involves the injection of sand, water, and chemicals into the wells to break up underground bedrock and free up the gas and oil reserves.[1]. The fracking process is purposed to form new rock fractures, increasing the extent, size, and existing connectivity to extract trapped oils and gas. The process is a well-stimulation technique commonly used with low-permeability rocks, such as shale, tight sandstone, and coal beds, for increased gas and oil flow into wells.[2]. In addition, hydraulic fracturing is also utilized in low-permeability sediments and other subsurface formations for increased vapor extraction efficiency and remediation of contaminated sites. The practice of hydraulic fracking accounts for only a small part of the process of completing, drilling, and producing gas and oil wells. However, since fracking involves the injection of chemical solutions into the ground, freeing up the gas and oil resources, it is attributed to some environmental impacts. Therefore, It is imperative to understand these impacts and design effective mitigating strategies to reduce them for effective, efficient fracking. This study is purposed to examine how different fracturing fluids and additives impact the effectiveness and environmental consequences of hydraulic fracturing operations.

Description of Challenge/Theoretical Aspect

3.1 Process of Fracking

The process of hydraulic fracking is preceded by site preparation and drilling preliminary stages. Site preparation involves ensuring that the drilling site is properly accessible and the drilling equipment has been well-graded. The roads and drilling pads are built and properly maintained by spreading stones on impermeable liners to prevent unprecedented spills and allow effective draining of any rain that may be falling on the site[3]. Drilling can be either vertical drilling or horizontal drilling. In vertical drilling, a hole is drilled straight downwards to the ground, and extended past a freshwater aquifer, approximately 300 feet. The drill pipe is later removed from the site and replaced with a surface casing (steel pipe). After that, cement is placed into the casing and settled between the borehole, and the casing, providing a form bond and preventing unprecedented movements of fluids. In addition, this settled cement forms an essential and impermeable protective layer between freshwater sources and the well-bore. Notably, extra casing sections can be incorporated to ensure that there will be no relative movements of gases and oils between the groundwater sources and well-bore layers during the actual fracturing. These extra casings are only necessitated by the nature of the site’s geology and the drilled well’s depth. In horizontal drilling, a hole is vertically drilled in a well up to the right depth, the “kick-off point,” after which the well bore is curved to form a horizontal drill.[4]. This type of drilling is more appropriate compared to vertical drilling as it allows drilling of several laterals from a single point, minimizing the scale, and impact of the activity to the surface above.[5]. Once the required depth has been achieved, the drilling pipe is removed. The pipe is then replaced with a steel casing, inserted the full length of the well bore, and cement inserted, just like in the vertical drilling. Once the drilling process is completed, the actual hydraulic fracturing process is commenced.

The process of hydraulic fracturing for gas and oil production from the reserves through injection pressuring is commenced when the preliminary stages have been completed. Figure 1, presented below, illustrates all the stages involved in the fracking process.

Diagrammatic Presentation of Hydraulic Fracturing Process

Figure 1: Diagrammatic Presentation of Hydraulic Fracturing Process[6]

The fracking fluid, composed of a mixture of sand, water, and different chemicals with a range of toxicity, is first pumped into the earth’s surface through the drilled well bore. When pumped, the high intensity and pressure of fracking fluid makes it rush into the layers of the shale rocks, crevices, and cracks.[7]. In the process, the chemicals contained float on the surface of the liquid, and as a result of high intensity, and pressure, these chemicals will be forced through the crevices and cracks of shale rock. At some point, the shale rock’s internal pressure makes the fluid flow back toward the surface. This fluid can be collected into a specially designated tank and later transferred into the treatment plant. Notably, as the fluid retreats, the crevices and cracks in the shale rock may attempt to close due to pressure drop. Proppants are left within the cracks of the shale rocks and may fracture as water retreats. The proppants usually open up the fractures of the shale rock, preventing them from closing further. Importantly, due to the immersive pressures in the adjacent shale rocks, the fracturing proppants must have a high crush factor and strength. The proppants change the rheological properties of the fluids. Notably, the nature of proppants distribution right after the flow back impacts the final network of the fracturing stages.[8]. Once the propping stage is completed, the production of gases and oil is commenced. The oils and gases flow freely from the fissures of the shale rock in the well bore, and in the process, fracturing fluid recovered. In the production of these fluids, approximately 25 to 75 % of the fluid is usually recovered and recycled for later use in further operations of hydraulic fracturing or disposed of altogether[9]. Past studies have shown that the industry of petroleum has been severely affected by unprecedented leak-offs occurring in the hydraulic fracturing.[10]. The volume of fracturing fluids that are collected in the reservoirs is highly dependent on the nature of the fluid involved, and the formation properties, with the leak-off percentages ranging from 10% to 50% for brittle formation, and from 80% to 99% for soft formation, such as the sandstones[11]. These leak-offs are attributed to significant negative effects on the fracturing processes. High levels of leak-offs in fracturing lead to retardation of process propagation and change of geometry as a result of the reduction of fracturing fluid. In addition, leak-offs lead to increased proppant concentration, affecting their final distribution, hence the volume of fluids collected into the reservoirs.

3.2 Primary Environmental Effects of Fracking and Correlation of Facts

When the entire process of producing oils and natural gas with the imploration of fracturing stimulation techniques is attributed to different primary environmental impacts, including water pollution, air pollution, and habitat disturbance.

3.2.1 Contamination of Water

The underground water can be contaminated in different ways as a result of hydraulic fracturing, including unprecedented leakages in the areas of storage, leaks from the injection wells, and residuals applied to the land surfaces, among others.[12]. Essentially, during hydraulic fracturing, water is usually mixed up with different chemicals to form frack fluids, as highlighted in the preceding sub-section. In addition, the cement casings that ring well bores and pass via the underground aquifers act as the barrier between the shaft and the underground water via the fracking fluids, and the flow of gases could lead to pollution. Essentially, the casing could break or fail during the fracturing process and allow fracking fluids and other naturally-occurring contaminants to mix with the underground waters, polluting the waters.[13]. Additionally, frack fluids may leak directly from the well bore into the water supply, leading to unprecedented build-ups of gases, making such waters unfit for consumption. Furthermore, even if cement casings were to hold in their position within the well bores during the preliminary and subsequent stages of hydraulic fracturing, the gases and oils produced could travel from the layers of the shale rocks into the water tables through the fractures within the surfaces of the rocks leading to contamination.[14].

The process of drilling and the chemicals used in hydraulic fracking also leads to significant water contamination. Ideally, the wastewater formed while drilling the ground surface has been attributed to the massive killing of ground vegetation in different parts of the world, such as in West Virginia forests. In addition, wastewater has been attributed to the deaths of pets and livestock.[15]. Besides these, some of the chemicals comprising the frack fluid and wastewater of the hydraulic fracking processes have been linked with deleterious health conditions. These chemicals include heavy metals, Toulene, Benze, and 2-butyloxyethanol. Direct interaction or interaction with wastewater containing these chemicals leads to cancerous conditions and massive destruction of plants within the surrounding environments.[16]. Notably, when the fluids have been injected into the ground surfaces, and fissures opened to allow the production of oils and gases, it is not clear what happens to the water used, even though some pieces of past research studies have shown that some of these waters are collected as flow back. The waters remaining within the surface of the ground may flow through underground rocks for longer distances. Considering that these waters are contaminated with different chemicals, it may lead to significant pollution of soils contained over the surfaces above the region where they flow.[17].

3.2.2 Air Pollution

Different air pollutant sources exist in the chain of shale development in different operations, including hydraulic fracking, site preparation, and well bore drilling, among others. Table 1 below presents the major hydraulic fracking-based emissions, categorizing them as main or major sources of pollution, highlighting the nature of pollutants they emit, and assessing the associated quality data.

Table 1: Major Sources of Hydraulic Fracking-based Emissions[18]

Major Sources of Hydraulic Fracking-based Emissions

Where:

With hydraulic fracking, preceding the production of natural gases, and oils, some of the main pollutants produced include the VOCs (volatile organic compounds), and NOx (nitrogen oxides), among others.[19]. Under the influence of sunlight, these compounds react, destroying the ozone layer, which contributes to significant air problems in the environment surrounding the production site and beyond. Additionally, most of hydraulic fracking operations utilize diesel-powered engines, producing diesel-based particulate matter. These matters and fugitive emissions of methane gases produced during processed oil production and natural gases are composed of greenhouse gases with significant negative environmental impacts. Essentially, greenhouse gases have the inherent potential to trap sunlight heat in the atmosphere leading to unprecedented cases of global warming, disruption of food supplies, and increasing wildfires, among other environmental effects.[20].

3.2.3 Habitat Disturbance

The process of producing natural gases and oils incorporating hydraulic fracturing requires site preparation, as established in the preceding sections of this study. Trees and vegetation would need to be cleared in site preparation to develop a well pad, bore, and space to support the infrastructure and pipelines. These requirements could also necessitate disturbance of pre-existing wildlife within the site, hence lowering habitat availability and quality, both for the resident and the migratory species.[21]. Land clearing tends to be a permanent activity, particularly within the area where pipelines are to be erected, with continued monitoring activities to prevent vegetation growth. Additionally, land where the hydraulic fracturing infrastructure has been placed, is usually reclaimable.

Land clearing leads to massive habitat loss, increased habitat edges along the landscapes, and unprecedented land fragmentation. Ideally, introducing edges in an initially undisturbed habitat has a high potential of changing both the abundance and variety of existing species and increasing the number of species with habitat generalists properties[22]. The number of species that require core vegetative (forest) habitat is reduced. In particular, land fragmentation and the introduction of land edges along the landscapes affect bird species, such as passerines. Moreover, grassland sites containing wells of natural gases have been associated with an increased number of non-native, invasive plants, reduction of ground cover, and unprecedented changes in the properties of soils, potentially contributing to nesting success. Past research studies have established that in Western Virginia and Pennsylvania, regions with s shale development, there has been a significant reduction of forest-interior bird species and increased constitution of synanthropic species over time.[23]. The roads leading to the hydraulic fracturing site create significant hazards to the existing wildlife. Ideally, road construction activities tend to create movement barriers for herpetofauna, and small-sized mammals, which may lead to isolated sub-populations. In addition, these roads may become corridors, leading to the massive spreading of invasive species and causing significant native habitat losses over time.[24].

Besides these, hydraulic fracturing leads to noise disturbances. The compressor stations for oil and gas production have the potential of producing noises between 75 dBA and 105 dBA continuously, which can be detected at a distance of approximately 1 km from the site of production.[25]. Such high noise levels have been found to affect certain species of birds, including passerine birds. This anthropogenic noise could also disrupt the mating calls and territorial distribution of eastern bluebirds and other bird species.

3.2.4 Earthquakes

Fluids injected into the ground during hydraulic fracturing have the potential to increase pressure in the fissures and faults and counter the effects of frictional forces, leading to earthquakes.[26]. Additionally, past research studies have revealed that non-pressure stimulated hydraulic fracturing operations with low injection pressures lead contributes to shallow forms of earthquakes.[27].

Mitigation Strategies

Different measures could be adopted to prevent or minimize the magnitude of fluid leakages and flowbacks leading to water contamination. Some of these measures could be advanced monitoring of the systems and increased casing during the design stages. Ideally, adopting a design strategy with several casing layers will limit the possibility of surface leakages. This design can be implemented through effective, high-standard cementing, enabling effective separation of the drilled well bore, shale rocks from the formations, and waters in the immediate surroundings. On the other hand, continued monitoring of the whole hydraulic fracturing system through advanced acoustic technologies could allow timely detection of all potential leaks and flow backs. Using modern technologies in drilling and powering hydraulic fracturing systems will ensure reduced contents of greenhouse gases produced, effectively reducing air pollution effects.

The effects of habitat disturbance could be reduced by adopting land reclamation procedures and using effective drilling equipment. Ideally, when drilling equipment with low noise levels is used, the noise levels will be precisely low, increasing the abundance levels of species, varieties, and health conditions. On the other hand, land reclamation can only be achieved once the oil and gas production has been completed in a site. Effective land reclamation ought to involve surface re-grading to restore the top soils and re-vegetation.

The effects of earthquakes can be mitigated by adopting proper seismic protocols and adjusting injection rates. By adopting low injection rates, it will be possible to reduce the pressure levels in the fissures and faults and increase frictional forces, thereby reducing the magnitude of earthquakes. With effective seismic protocols and low injection rates, non-pressure stimulated hydraulic fracturing operations will be possible, with minimal risks of earthquakes.

Significant Findings

5.1 Conclusion

This research study has examined how using different fracturing fluids and additives impacts the effectiveness and environmental consequences of hydraulic fracturing operations. Hydraulic fracturing has been presented as a critical component in the industrial production of oils and gases, with significant environmental impacts. Primary effects of water contamination, air pollution, earthquakes, and habitat disturbance were comprehensively explored, detailing what pertains to each and significant mitigating strategies that can be adopted for effective, efficient fracking.

5.2 Limitations of the Investigation

Despite this study providing an understanding of the process of fracturing and the associated environmental impacts in detail, there needed to be more data. Ideally, the records of sources of environmental pollution were backed by something other than published data from different parts of the world in which these operations are carried out, limiting the scope of the study. Additionally, considering that the production of natural gases and oils with the imploration of fracking techniques is driven by the nature of the land, the content of fluid resources, and the market, some of the suggested mitigating strategies against them could not necessarily hold in certain parts of the world, for instance, the use of advanced acoustic technology in production. It is imperative to consider these factors while instituting mitigating strategies.

References

Pollard, J. A., & Rose, D. C. (2018). Lightning Rods, Earthquakes, and Regional Identities: Towards a Multi-Scale Framework of Assessing Fracking Risk Perception. Risk Analysis39(2), 473–487. https://doi.org/10.1111/risa.13167

Pichtel, J. (2016). Oil and Gas Production Wastewater: Soil Contamination and Pollution Prevention. Applied and Environmental Soil Science2016. https://doi.org/10.1155/2016/2707989

Wang, Q., Yin, X., Jiang, C., Jiang, C., Zhang, Y., Zhai, H., Zhang, Y., Lai, G., & Yin, F. (2021). Research status of earthquake forecasting in hydraulic-fracturing induced earthquakes. Earthquake Science34(3), 286–298. https://doi.org/10.29382/eqs-2021-0016

Langlois, L. A., Drohan, P. J., & Brittingham, M. C. (2017). Linear infrastructure drives habitat conversion and forest fragmentation associated with Marcellus shale gas development in a forested landscape. Journal of Environmental Management197, 167–176. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvman.2017.03.045

Caldwell, J. A., Williams, C. K., Brittingham, M. C., & Maier, T. J. (2022). A Consideration of Wildlife in the Benefit-Costs of Hydraulic Fracturing: Expanding to an E3 Analysis. Sustainability14(8), 4811. https://doi.org/10.3390/su14084811

Liu, S., & Ott, W. K. (2020). Sodium silicate applications in oil, gas & geothermal well operations195, 107693–107693. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.petrol.2020.107693

Muther, T., Qureshi, H. A., Syed, F. I., Aziz, H., Siyal, A., Dahaghi, A. K., & Negahban, S. (2021). Unconventional hydrocarbon resources: geological statistics, petrophysical characterization, and field development strategies. Journal of Petroleum Exploration and Production Technology. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13202-021-01404-x

Li, Y., Hu, W., Zhang, Z., Zhang, Z., Shang, Y., Han, L., & Wei, S. (2021). Numerical simulation of hydraulic fracturing process in a naturally fractured reservoir based on a discrete fracture network model. Journal of Structural Geology147, 104331. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsg.2021.104331

Hossain, E. (2018). Directional and Horizontal Drilling Problems. Drilling Engineering Problems, and Solutions, 497–547. https://doi.org/10.1002/9781118998632.ch10

Chen, B., Barboza, B. R., Sun, Y., Bai, J., Thomas, H. R., Dutko, M., Cottrell, M., & Li, C. (2021). A Review of Hydraulic Fracturing Simulation. Archives of Computational Methods in Engineering. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11831-021-09653-z

Mahmud, H. B., Ermila, M., Bennour, Z., & Mahmud, W. M. (2020). A Review of Fracturing Technologies Utilized in Shale Gas Resources. In www.intechopen.com. IntechOpen. https://www.intechopen.com/chapters/72128

Roundtable on Environmental Health Sciences, Research, and Medicine, Board on Population Health and Public Health Practice, & Institute of Medicine. (2014, December 30). Water Quality. Nih.gov; National Academies Press (US). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK201899/

Shrestha, N., Chilkoor, G., Wilder, J., Gadhamshetty, V., & Stone, J. J. (2017). Potential water resource impacts of hydraulic fracturing from unconventional oil production in the Bakken shale. Water Research108, 1–24. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.watres.2016.11.006

Roundtable on Environmental Health Sciences, Research, and Medicine, Board on Population Health and Public Health Practice, & Institute of Medicine. (2014, December 30). Air Quality. Nih.gov; National Academies Press (US). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK201897/

Malhi, Y., Franklin, J., Seddon, N., Solan, M., Turner, M. G., Field, C. B., & Knowlton, N. (2020). Climate change and ecosystems: threats, opportunities and solutions. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences375(1794), 20190104. Royal Society Publishing. https://doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2019.0104

Cao, W., Sevket Durucan, Shi, J.-Q., Cai, W., Korre, A., & Ratouis, T. (2022). Induced seismicity associated with geothermal fluids re-injection: Poroelastic stressing, thermoelastic stressing, or transient cooling-induced permeability enhancement?102. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.geothermics.2022.102404

[1] Pollard, J. A., & Rose, D. C. (2018). Lightning Rods, Earthquakes, and Regional Identities: Towards a Multi-Scale Framework of Assessing Fracking Risk Perception. Risk Analysis39(2), 473–487. https://doi.org/10.1111/risa.13167

[2] Muther, T., Qureshi, H. A., Syed, F. I., Aziz, H., Siyal, A., Dahaghi, A. K., & Negahban, S. (2021). Unconventional hydrocarbon resources: geological statistics, petrophysical characterization, and field development strategies. Journal of Petroleum Exploration and Production Technology. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13202-021-01404-x

[3] Li, Y., Hu, W., Zhang, Z., Zhang, Z., Shang, Y., Han, L., & Wei, S. (2021). Numerical simulation of the hydraulic fracturing process in a naturally fractured reservoir based on a discrete fracture network model. Journal of Structural Geology147, 104331. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsg.2021.104331

[4] Li, Y., Hu, W., Zhang, Z., Zhang, Z., Shang, Y., Han, L., & Wei, S. (2021). Numerical simulation of the hydraulic fracturing process in a naturally fractured reservoir based on a discrete fracture network model. Journal of Structural Geology147, 104331. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsg.2021.104331

[5] Hossain, E. (2018). Directional and Horizontal Drilling Problems. Drilling Engineering Problems, and Solutions, 497–547. https://doi.org/10.1002/9781118998632.ch10

[6] Chen, B., Barboza, B. R., Sun, Y., Bai, J., Thomas, H. R., Dutko, M., Cottrell, M., & Li, C. (2021). A Review of Hydraulic Fracturing Simulation. Archives of Computational Methods in Engineering. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11831-021-09653-z

[7] Liu, S., & Ott, W. K. (2020). Sodium silicate applications in oil, gas & geothermal well operations195, 107693–107693. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.petrol.2020.107693

[8] Chen, B., Barboza, B. R., Sun, Y., Bai, J., Thomas, H. R., Dutko, M., Cottrell, M., & Li, C. (2021). A Review of Hydraulic Fracturing Simulation. Archives of Computational Methods in Engineering. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11831-021-09653-z

[9] Mahmud, H. B., Ermila, M., Bennour, Z., & Mahmud, W. M. (2020). A Review of Fracturing Technologies Utilized in Shale Gas Resources. In www.intechopen.com. IntechOpen. https://www.intechopen.com/chapters/72128

[10] Chen, B., Barboza, B. R., Sun, Y., Bai, J., Thomas, H. R., Dutko, M., Cottrell, M., & Li, C. (2021). A Review of Hydraulic Fracturing Simulation. Archives of Computational Methods in Engineering. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11831-021-09653-z

[11] Ibid

[12] Roundtable on Environmental Health Sciences, Research, and Medicine, Board on Population Health and Public Health Practice, & Institute of Medicine. (2014, December 30). Water Quality. Nih.gov; National Academies Press (US). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK201899/

[13] Ibid

[14] Shrestha, N., Chilkoor, G., Wilder, J., Gadhamshetty, V., & Stone, J. J. (2017). Potential water resource impacts of hydraulic fracturing from unconventional oil production in the Bakken shale. Water Research108, 1–24. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.watres.2016.11.006

[15] Pichtel, J. (2016). Oil and Gas Production Wastewater: Soil Contamination and Pollution Prevention. Applied and Environmental Soil Science2016. https://doi.org/10.1155/2016/2707989

[16] Ibid

[17] Ibid

[18] Roundtable on Environmental Health Sciences, Research, and Medicine, Board on Population Health and Public Health Practice, & Institute of Medicine. (2014, December 30). Air Quality. Nih.gov; National Academies Press (US). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK201897/

[19] Roundtable on Environmental Health Sciences, Research, and Medicine, Board on Population Health and Public Health Practice, & Institute of Medicine. (2014, December 30). Air Quality. Nih.gov; National Academies Press (US). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK201897/

[20] Malhi, Y., Franklin, J., Seddon, N., Solan, M., Turner, M. G., Field, C. B., & Knowlton, N. (2020). Climate change and ecosystems: threats, opportunities, and solutions. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences375(1794), 20190104. Royal Society Publishing. https://doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2019.0104

[21] Caldwell, J. A., Williams, C. K., Brittingham, M. C., & Maier, T. J. (2022). A Consideration of Wildlife in the Benefit-Costs of Hydraulic Fracturing: Expanding to an E3 Analysis. Sustainability14(8), 4811. https://doi.org/10.3390/su14084811

[22] Ibid

[23] Langlois, L. A., Drohan, P. J., & Brittingham, M. C. (2017). Linear infrastructure drives habitat conversion and forest fragmentation associated with Marcellus shale gas development in a forested landscape. Journal of Environmental Management197, 167–176. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvman.2017.03.045

[24] Malhi, Y., Franklin, J., Seddon, N., Solan, M., Turner, M. G., Field, C. B., & Knowlton, N. (2020). Climate change and ecosystems: threats, opportunities, and solutions. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences375(1794), 20190104. Royal Society Publishing. https://doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2019.0104

[25] Caldwell, J. A., Williams, C. K., Brittingham, M. C., & Maier, T. J. (2022). A Consideration of Wildlife in the Benefit-Costs of Hydraulic Fracturing: Expanding to an E3 Analysis. Sustainability14(8), 4811. https://doi.org/10.3390/su14084811

[26] Wang, Q., Yin, X., Jiang, C., Jiang, C., Zhang, Y., Zhai, H., Zhang, Y., Lai, G., & Yin, F. (2021). Research status of earthquake forecasting in hydraulic-fracturing induced earthquakes. Earthquake Science34(3), 286–298. https://doi.org/10.29382/eqs-2021-0016

[27] Cao, W., Sevket Durucan, Shi, J.-Q., Cai, W., Korre, A., & Ratouis, T. (2022). Induced seismicity associated with geothermal fluids re-injection: Poroelastic stressing, thermoelastic stressing, or transient cooling-induced permeability enhancement?102. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.geothermics.2022.102404

Energy Sector Cybersecurity Challenges: Using Edge Computing To Improve Security In Virtual Power Plants

Introduction:

With the introduction of virtual power plants (VPPs) and the growing digitalization and interconnectedness of power networks, the energy sector is going through a tremendous transition. To maintain the security and resilience of the energy infrastructure, many cybersecurity concerns brought about by this advancement must be addressed (Venkatachary et al., 2021). The papers offered concentrate on the cybersecurity issues facing the energy industry, notably in the context of VPPs, and investigate how edge computing ideas may be used to improve security.

According to the publications you supplied, the emphasis of your study is on cybersecurity issues in the energy industry, particularly about virtual power plants (VPPs) and the possible use of edge computing techniques to improve security.

The literature has emphasized several issues with cybersecurity in the VPPs and energy industries. VPPs rely on communication networks for data exchange and control, and these networks might be vulnerable to various cyber-attacks. This creates a communication vulnerability. Possible vulnerabilities include unauthorized access, data breaches, and denial-of-service attacks, to name a few. Second, there are no established security standards for VPPs in the energy industry, making it difficult to develop reliable cybersecurity safeguards across various VPP implementations. Inconsistencies and holes in security procedures may result from this.

Before the emergence of contemporary cybersecurity concerns, the energy sector installed several systems and equipment. These outdated systems may need more built-in security features or be incompatible with current security measures, resulting in extra risks when integrating them with VPPs (Venegas-Zarama et al., 2022). Furthermore, insider threats pose concerns to the energy sector because they allow anyone with access to crucial systems to either purposefully or accidentally jeopardize the security of VPPs. This could refer to staff members, independent contractors, or outside service suppliers.

Large volumes of sensitive data, such as customer information and trends in energy usage, are collected and sent over VPPs. It is essential to preserve this data’s privacy and security against unwanted access and abuse. The cybersecurity concerns in the energy industry, particularly in the context of VPPs, are of great relevance in terms of how your topic fits within the field of research. The danger of cyber attacks rises as the energy industry gets increasingly digital and networked, which can have severe repercussions for the dependability and stability of power systems (Venegas-Zarama et al., 2022). For the energy infrastructure to be secure and resilient, it is crucial to comprehend and manage these issues.

You may anticipate needing assistance as you develop your plan for endorsement in several areas, including a literature review. Conducting a thorough literature review on cybersecurity challenges in the energy sector, focusing on VPPs and edge computing principles, will help you create a solid theoretical framework for your study. Second, data collecting and analysis, where you can need information from simulation models or actual VPP installations, depending on the nature of your research. Collecting and analyzing pertinent data to support your study goals might take much work.

Additionally, connecting with specialists in energy cybersecurity and VPPs might yield insightful viewpoints. This might involve conversing with experts in the field or working with them on research projects or interviews. Last but not least, having access to materials like pertinent research papers, industry studies, and cybersecurity best practices related to the energy sector can help you shape your research and comprehend the most recent state-of-the-art techniques.

Search academic databases like IEEE Xplore and Google Scholar for relevant research papers and articles to locate further resources. Insightful information may also be found in industry studies and whitepapers produced by government agencies, energy-related businesses, and cybersecurity groups (Venkatachary et al., 2021). You may find common resources and add value to your work through networking with colleagues, attending conferences or seminars, and engaging pertinent professional groups.

Conclusion

The research articles offered insight into the cybersecurity issues the energy sector faces, particularly in relation to virtual power plants (VPPs). Among the problems mentioned in the literature are the weaknesses in communication networks, the absence of defined security protocols, the integration of old systems, risks posed by insiders, and data concerns related to privacy. It is crucial to address cybercrime in the energy industry since these issues significantly impact the stability and dependability of electricity systems.

References

Venkatachary, S. K., Alagappan, A., & Andrews, L. J. B. (2021). Cybersecurity challenges in the energy sector (virtual power plants)-can edge computing principles be applied to enhance security? Energy Informatics4(1), 5.

Venegas-Zarama, J. F., Muñoz-Hernandez, J. I., Baringo, L., Diaz-Cachinero, P., & De Domingo-Mondejar, I. (2022). A review of the evolution and main roles of virtual power plants as key stakeholders in power systems. IEEE Access10, 47937-47964.

Ethical Incident By FTX

FTX trading company has been one of the leading cryptocurrency companies globally. Having been founded in 2019, the company experienced tremendous growth in its asset value till its bankruptcy in 2019. Part of the issues that led to its bankruptcy were ethical related. Specifically, lack of transparency was the primary ethical concern that led to its collapse. This problem resulted due to the CEO of the company, Bankman Friedman, failing to reveal the company’s actual state in terms of assets and whether they were adequate to fulfil its current liabilities (Cohen & Jacob, 2022). Bankman often revealed to the FTT token investors that their investments were safe and the company FTX was financially sound, only for them to find out through a balance sheet leakage publication by coin desk that the company has used the investor’s funds to run another company called Alameda research. Bankman kept this state of affairs secret from the investors. Investors were worried about their deposits and felt they could no longer trust the company.

The immediate response from the company was to reassure the public and the trading investors that their assets were safe. The CEO, Bankman, made several media briefings to ensure that the issue did not get out of hand. However, the briefings were mainly done on the company’s Twitter accounts. FTX investors interpreted this as a cowardly move considering that FTX was the largest crypto trading company. Additionally, the company sought to increase its liquidity status by seeking a sell-off to Binance (Cohen & Jacob, 2022). Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao agreed to the acquisition plans. However, the situation quickly went public, and once the United States took over the investigations, Binance backed out and was no longer interested in acquiring FTX. Therefore, the immediate response by the company executives was not futile since it did not increase public confidence, nor did it stop the situation from deteriorating further.

The lack of transparency by FTX had negative consequences for the company and its investors. One of the dire consequences is that a vast majority of the investors lost their assets deposits. The company balance sheet revealed that the company had a negative 8 billion balance, something that the CEO should have explained how they would acquire their funds back. Another consequence is that it led to the bankruptcy of the company. When the transparency issues became public, investors quickly started withdrawing their funds from the company leading to its bankruptcy since they had already invested part of the customer deposits in Alameda. The lack of diversification in assets investments in Alameda and FTX further increased the bankruptcy. Another notable effect of the transparency issues at FTX is that it negatively affected traditional assets like Bitcoins and Ethereum (Vidal et al., 2023). Investors across the cryptocurrency markets globally slowed down on purchasing these assets due to extreme fear and lack of trust in crypto trading companies. Slowed-down investor confidence is still prevalent today despite it being over eight months since the FTX collapse due to ethical issues related to transparency.

Several insights can be derived from FTX concerning professional ethics. First, I learnt that as the CEO of the company, it is very vital that one takes ethics seriously and is personally responsible. When FTX finally collapsed due to ethical issues related to transparency, the CEO was held personally accountable and was indicated on accounts of having known that he was defrauding the trading investors. Hence, business leaders must take matters of professional ethics seriously and abide by the stated guidelines. Secondly, I learnt that companies have a professional, ethical duty to uphold to their stakeholders. Noncompliance with their duty to stakeholders amounts to a lack of professional ethics, negatively affecting the company in the long run (Arner et al., 2023). In the case of FTX, the company should only have used the FTT investor’s funds to reinvest in Alameda research if it was transparent enough to disclose to the investors. Thirdly, I learnt that professional ethics is crucial in maintaining a good reputation. In the case of FTX, a lack of professional ethics led to a negative reputational impact. The investors quickly withdrew their remaining assets, negatively affecting the global crypto market. Investors’ confidence in crypto assets declined and has remained low to date.

In conclusion, lack of transparency was the main ethical issue facing the FTX trading company. Despite the company’s tremendous growth over the years in investor deposits, it collapsed in 2022. Amid the collapse, the company executives’ efforts to salvage the company included boosting investors’ confidence through media briefings and increasing its liquidity by selling it off to Binance. However, these actions were in futility. The consequential effects of its lack of transparency and ethical issues included loss of investors’ funds, company collapse due to bankruptcy and negative investor confidence even in other traditional assets. Business leaders must value professional ethics by upholding their ethical duty to stakeholders.

References

Arner, D. W., Zetzsche, D. A., Buckley, R. P., & Kirkwood, J. M. (2023). The Financialization of Crypto: Lessons from FTX and the Crypto Winter of 2022-2023. Available at SSRN 4372516.

Cohen, M., & Jacob, A. (2022). The Fall of FTX and How Transparent Accounting Can Restore Crypto’s Future. TaxBit.

https://taxbit.com/blog/the-fall-of-ftx-and-how-transparent-accounting-can-restore-cryptos-future/

Vidal-Tomás, D., Briola, A., & Aste, T. (2023). FTX’s downfall and Binance’s consolidation: the fragility of Centralized Digital Finance. arXiv preprint arXiv:2302.11371.