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What is Hydraulic Fracturing?
Hydraulic fracturing, commonly referred to as fracking, is a proven technology used safely for more than 60 years, which allows natural gas producers to safely recover natural gas from deep shale formations. It uses water pressure to create fissures in deep underground shale formations that allow oil and natural gas to flow.
First used in the U.S. in 1947, the technology has been continuously improved upon since that time. Recent innovations combining this technology with horizontal drilling in shale formations has unlocked vast new supplies of natural gas, allowing the nation to get to the energy it needs today, and transforming our energy future.
Fracking by the Numbers
- Without it, we would lose 45 percent of domestic natural gas production and 17 percent of our oil production within five years. (Source: Global Insight, “Measuring the Economic and Energy Impacts of Proposals to Regulate Hydraulic Fracturing,” 2009.)
- Hydraulic Fracturing has helped produce more than 600 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and 7 billion barrels of oil.
- The process of bringing a well to completion is generally short-lived, taking a few months for a single well, after which the well can be in production for 20 to 40 years.
Hydraulic Fracturing Fluids
- “Fracturing Fluids” or “Pumping fluids” primarily consisting of water and sand are injected under high pressure into the producing formation, creating fissures that allow resources to move freely from rock pores where it is trapped.
- On average 99.51% of fracturing fluids are comprised of freshwater and sand. (Source: Energy in Depth)
FACT SHEET: Hydraulic Fracturing