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What is hydraulic fracturing?

Hydraulic fracturing (sometimes referred to as “fracking”) is a common part of the oil and gas well completion process that typically involves injecting water, sand or ceramic beads, and chemicals under high pressure into a oil or gas reservoir via the well. This process is intended to create new fractures in the rock as well as increase the size, extent, and connectivity of existing fractures and porosity. Hydraulic fracturing is a well-stimulation technique used commonly in low-permeability rocks like tight sandstone, shale, and some coal beds to increase oil and/or gas flow into the borehole from the petroleum-bearing rock formation. A similar technique may be used to increase permeability in underground geothermal reservoirs.

 

Learn more:

Visit the USGS Energy Resources Program main hydraulic fracturing Web page

Watch a video: Science or Soundbite? Shale Gas, Hydraulic Fracturing, and Induced Earthquakes

Tags: Fracking, Hydraulic Fracturing, Oil and Gas Drilling