2 minutes reading time (305 words)

Sixty Years of Fracking Data – What Does it Say?

On January 27, 2015, the U.S. Geological Survey, the science arm of the U.S. Department of the Interior, published a scientific investigative report, supported by a separate data series, consisting of hydraulic fracturing and fracturing treatment records from 1947-2010. Over 1 million fracked wells and 1.8 million fracking treatment records were reviewed by the agency. This is the first time that such a comprehensive analysis of the practice and evolution of fracking has been made available to the public and should prove of great value inside and outside of the oil and gas industry. The report and data set survey the practice of fracking from its initial use to the present and consider drilling techniques, additives, proppants, treatment fluids and water use. This information was then compared by the agency to information in peer-reviewed articles. The Abstract summarizes a key finding, “[w]ater-intensive horizontal/directional drilling has also increased from 6 percent of new hydraulically fractured wells drilled in the United States in 2000 to 42 percent drilled in 2010. Increases in horizontal drilling also coincided with the emergence of water-based ‘slick water’ fracturing fluids. As such, the most current hydraulic fracturing materials and methods are notably different from those used in previous decades and have contributed to the development of previously inaccessible unconventional oil and gas production target areas, namely in shale and tight-sand reservoirs.” In sum, new fracturing technologies have unlocked previously inaccessible resources.

Gallegos, T.J. and Varela, B.A., 2015 “Trends in hydraulic fracturing distributions and treatment fluids, additives, proppants, and water volumes applied to wells drilled in the United states from 1947 through 2010—Data analysis and comparison to the literature: U.S. Geological Survey Investigations Report 2014-5131. http://dx.doi.org/10.3133/sir20145131 and “Data regarding hydraulic fracturing distributions and treatment fluids, additives, proppants, and water volumes applied to wells drilled in the United States from 1947 through 2010.” http://pubs.usgs.gov/ds/0868/

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