When did hydraulic fracturing become such a popular approach to oil and gas production?

Hydraulic fracturing in vertical wells has been used for over fifty years to improve the flow of oil and gas from conventional reservoirs. However, the current practice of horizontal drilling coupled with multiple applications of hydraulic fracturing in a single well was pioneered in the late 1980s and has continued to evolve. Since the final years of the 20th century, the use of this technique to produce oil and gas from previously unproductive formations has dramatically increased, which has pushed hydraulic fracturing and related processes into regions where oil and gas had not previously been produced.

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How and where do drillers dispose of waste hydraulic fracturing fluid?

Most of the water and additives used in hydraulic fracturing (or “fracking”) remain deep underground in the geologic formation from which the oil or gas is being extracted. But some of the fluid, mixed with water or brine from the formation, returns through the well to the surface and is referred to as “produced water”. After a well is brought on-...

Are other countries using hydraulic fracturing for oil and gas extraction?

Yes, hydraulic fracturing is being used extensively in Canada and is increasingly being used in countries in Asia, Europe, and South America.