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What Is Fracking?

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The demand for gas and oil means that the oil and gas companies need to do everything they can to make sure that they can supply enough product to meet the demand. There are a lot of ways that the companies can do that. One way is through fracking. However, not everyone knows what fracking is. 

Hydraulic Fracturing

Fracking is short for hydraulic fracturing. It involves deep well bores that are surrounded by rock that have gas or oil in them. A fluid is pumped into the bore and into the rocks so that the gas or oil is able to flow more easily. 

Fracking Method

The way that fracking works is that a deep bore well is drilled. It can either be straight down or drilled at an angle, depending on where the target is located in regards to the well site. Once the well has reached the level of the rock formation, they start drilling the well horizontally, through the formation. After the well has been completely drilled, then the vertical part is sealed in something like cement. That is supposed to help keep anything from leaking out of the well and into the ground water. When that is done, it's time to start the fracking process. That involves pumping fracking fluid down into the well at high pressure until the rock around the well has fractured. Then the gas or oil is able to be pumped out of the ground. 

Fracking Fluid

Fracking fluid is made up of a lot of things. Generally, the main liquid component is water. There are other things that are added to the water that can help with the fracturing process. That includes solids like sand or ceramics. There are also other chemicals that can be added into the fluid to help with the process. Those chemicals can include things like detergents, lubricants, disinfectants, and acids. Those things all help push any gap in the rocks wider. Depending on the kind of product the drilling company is going for, the fluid component may be something other than water and may be more viscous than water or in a gel or foam form. 

To keep with the demand, oil and gas companies need to be able to maximize the production from their wells. Hydraulic fracturing lets them maximize their production and get as much as they can out of each well without having to dig new wells.