Hydraulic fracturing is the process of pumping a specially formulated fracturing fluid through high-strength steel casing to deliver the force necessary to cause the reservoir rock to break, or fracture, facilitating the flow of oil and natural gas to the surface.
Fracturing fluid is an essential component of the shale gas extraction process. The fluid used is typically composed of 98% to 99.2% water and sand and less than 1% chemical additives.
The fluid is pumped down the well at a high pressure for a short period of time, usually hours, creating multiple cracks in the rock that allows trapped natural gas to flow to the well. The sand, called a proppant, helps keep the fractures open and as a result, the gas flowing. The entire fracturing process typically takes 5 to 7 days.
For more information on fracturing fluid disclosure, visit www.fracfocus.org, provided by the Ground Water Protection Council and the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission, or www.ngsfacts.org, provided by the International Association of Oil & Gas Producers (OGP).