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SHALE GAS

For decades, experts have been aware of the vast quantities of natural gas in deep shale formations. It is only recently, however, that these resources have become economically recoverable. Now, with multi-stage hydraulic fracturing technology— combined with horizontal drilling—natural gas from shale plays are being produced all across the country. The Eagle Ford is currently at the top of the list of prolific shale plays.

THE HISTORY OF FRACTURING

The process of hydraulic fracturing has been used by the oil and gas industry since the 1940s. In more recent times, improvement of the technology has made “fracing” an important element of natural gas development. In fact, the process is now employed in most wells drilled in the U.S.

THE FRACTURING PROCESS

Hydraulic fracturing is the process of forcing—at extremely high pressure— water and sand down a newly-drilled and cased oil or gas well. This combination frac fluid is forced into the rock formation. Then, the force of the fluid opens up tiny cracks or fissures between the grains of the rocks and expands on the natural porosity of the reservoir. After the formation is fractured, a “propping agent,” such as sand, is pumped into the fractures to keep them from closing.

ENVIRONMENTAL SAFETY

Hydraulic fracturing has been used in horizontal and vertical oil and gas wells for more than 70 years. The environmentalimpact of hydraulic fracturing is closely guided by strict EPA and state regulations concerning water use anddisposal. The result is a smaller footprint on our environment.

THE IMPACT OF HYDRAULIC FRACTURING

The process of hydraulic fracturing can significantly reduce our country’s reliance on imported oil. At the same time, we can decrease carbon dioxide emissions and help protect our environment. In short, the development of deep shale formations—made possible by hydraulic fracturing—is a boon to our country’s energy needs through the increased production of oil and natural gas. Indeed, the resulting natural gas solves future clean energy needs for our country and our world.

THE STATE OF FRACTURING TODAY

Since its inception, the results of hydraulic fracturing have been prolific. To date, the process has been responsible for the production of seven billion barrels of domestically produced oil and over 600 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. According to the National Petroleum Council, as many as 80 percent of future oil and gas wells will be hydraulically fractured.