Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, has played an important role in the development of America's oil and natural gas resources for nearly 60 years. In the U.S., an estimated 35,000 wells are processed with the hydraulic fracturing method; it’s estimated that over one million wells have been hydraulically fractured since the first well in the late 1940s. Each well is a little different, and each one offers lessons learned. The oil and natural gas production industry uses these lessons to develop best practices to minimize the environmental and societal impacts associated with development.
Studies estimate that up to 80 percent of natural gas wells drilled in the next decade will require hydraulic fracturing to properly complete well setup. Horizontal drilling is a key component in the hydraulic fracturing process.
In short, this makes it possible for shale oil extraction to produce oil and natural gas in places where conventional technologies are ineffective. Hydraulic fracturing involves the use of water pressure to create fractures in rock that allow the oil and natural gas it contains to escape and flow out of a well. This process takes places under tight regulatory control.