Unlocking America's Natural Gas Supply
What is "fracking"?
How does it work?
During hydraulic fracturing, "fracturing fluids" consisting mainly of water and sand are injected under high pressure into the producing formation of shale (most commonly Marcellus Shale in the US) creating fissures that allow petroleum or natural gas to move freely from rock pores where it is trapped.
What is Marcellus Shale?
Benefits of Hydraulic Fracturing
- Fracking has unlocked massive new supplies of oil and clean-burning natural gas that increase America's energy security and improve our ability to generate electricity, heat homes and power vehicles for transportation.
- It boosts local economies by creating hundreds of high-paying jobs. Energy-intensive manufacturing companies that had moved overseas for cheaper energy can now stay in the US, promising more jobs and higher incomes. In fact, the US oil and gas industry already supports 9.2 million jobs.
- The short amount of time it takes for a well to be completed and fracking to take place is made up for by the decades of production it provides, as seen below.
- Naturally clean-burning gas drastically reduces carbon dioxide emissions, a greenhouse gas that is a main cause of global warming, by up to 30% when compared to fuel oil being burned.
- The American Chemistry Council estimates a 25% rise in the production of ethane, a liquid derived from natural gas production critical to the manufacturing of chemicals and plastics. This could mean vast economic benefits for the nation.
- Natural gas is highly reliable in any weather, and there are plentiful supplies of it for immediate use, as it is currently already meeting one-fourth of America's energy needs.
- The process of fracking is entirely safe, with numerous precautions being taken by state regulators to ensure groundwater safety and waste management.
"The use of horizontal drilling in conjunction with hydraulic fracturing has greatly expanded the ability of producers to profitably recover natural gas and oil from low-permeability geologic plays—particularly, shale plays."
- U.S. Energy Information Administration