The process of bringing a well to completion is generally short-lived, taking only 70 to 100 days for a single well, after which the well can be in production for 20 to 40 years. The process for a single horizontal well typically includes four to eight weeks to prepare the site for drilling, four or five weeks of rig work, including casing and cementing and moving all associated auxiliary equipment off the well site before fracturing operations commence, and two to five days for the entire multi-stage fracturing operation.
Once completed, the production site is reduced to about the size of a two-car garage. The remainder of the site is restored to its original condition and the environmental benefits, such as reduced air and greenhouse gas emissions, last for decades. Local impacts, such as noise, dust, and land disturbance, are largely confined to the initial phase of development.