How does hydraulic fracturing differ from traditional petroleum development methods?

In a conventional oil or gas field, where the oil or gas is in relatively porous and permeable rock (i.e. the pores are connected), the oil or gas can usually flow naturally from the reservoir rock to the wellbore. Nonetheless, a variety of techniques are often used to improve the flow of oil or gas, including hydraulic fracturing. 

Rock formations that are very impermeable require artificially fracturing the rock using hydraulic fracturing in order to produce significant amounts of oil or gas. 

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Image: Perforating Gun for Hydraulic Fracturing
March 14, 2016

Perforating Gun for Hydraulic Fracturing

Unused and spent perforating gun used in oil and gas drilling and hydraulic fracturing. The pipe on the bottom left, shows holes created by the explosive charges mounted inside the pipe.