Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is a decade old technology used to develop oil and natural gas resources from deep shale formations. Yet while the process is now used in roughly 90 percent of new oil and natural gas wells, many are still unfamiliar with how hydraulic fracturing really works.
To answer that all too common question, Energy In Depth has produced a new video to explain what hydraulic fracturing is, how it works in combination with horizontal drilling, and how this process helps to provide numerous benefits to U.S. consumers in the form of affordable, clean-burning, natural gas.
Advances in proven technology are delivering new opportunities in oil and natural gas production across the state. Hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” has helped America to be less dependent on countries like Russia and Iran for oil and natural gas.
Fracking has been used for more than 60 years to safely enhance the production potential of oil and natural gas from more than one million wells in the United States.
Advances in fracking technology allow operators to tap into vast oil and natural gas deposits that were once considered unreachable. While the fracking technique has been used for decades, the process has been continuously refined to be even more safe and effective.
Fracking occurs at great depths, generally a mile or more underground, thousands of feet below freshwater supplies. With safety systems that include multiple layers of steel casing (pipe) and cement in place, operators drill vertically thousands of feet down then drill horizontally into the targeted rock formation. Then a mixture of pressurized water, sand and a very small amount of approved additives is pumped thousands of feet down into the formation to create tiny, millimeter-thick, fissures in carefully targeted sections of the host rock. The tiny fractures free the trapped oil or natural gas.
Oil and natural gas operators in Texas typically use a fracturing compound (or fracking fluid) that is 99.5 percent water and sand and 0.5 percent chemically-based additives. The sand helps to prop open the fractures to facilitate the flow of oil or natural gas.
The video forgot to mention that the fracking fluid contains 750 chemicals, most of them being known carcinogens.
There are a few things missing from this presentation that should be included or could use more clarification:
- Steel casing is set at shallow depths and surrounded with cement to protect the shallow water formations by holding the casing in place and sealing off the casing from the formations…. the amount of casing is set by regulations related to the depth of usable water…..
- There are not only federal but state regulations in place to assist in the protection of the subsurface….
- Sand isn’t the only substance used with the frac fluids to open the fractures formed…
Source: EnergyInDepth on YouTube