The Future of Oil and Natural Gas DrillingFracking (Hydraulic Fracturing or Hydro-Fracking) is a process that results in the creation of fractures in Shale rock formations.
Fracking is first done by Horizontal Drilling (Directional Drilling) a wellbore into reservoir rock formations in combination with high-pressure Fracking fluid (Slurry Blender or Slick-Water) to increase the rate and ultimate recovery of Light Oil and Natural Gas.
Most times a Shale Oil formation only needs to be Fracked once, where as a Natural Gas formation usually needs to be Fracked multiple times.
The technique of Fracking is used to increase or restore the rate at which fluids and gas, such as Light Tight Oil, Shale Oil or Natural Gas can be produced from a reservoir, including unconventional reservoirs such as Shale and Tight Rock formations or Coal beds.
Fracking enables the production of Natural Gas and Oil from rock formations deep below the earth's surface (generally 5,000-20,000 feet or 1,500-6,100 m). At such depth, there may not be sufficient porosity and permeability to allow Natural Gas and Oil to flow from the rock into the wellbore at economic rates.
Fractures may be natural or man-made and are extended by internal fluid pressure which opens the fracture and causes it to extend through the rock.
Fracking fluid can include water, silica sand, ceramic and certain chemicals.
Natural hydraulic fractures include volcanic dikes, sills and fracturing by ice as in frost weathering.
Man-made fluid-driven fractures are formed at depth in a borehole and extend into targeted formations. The fracture width is typically maintained after the injection by introducing a proppant into the injected fluid. Proppant is a material, such as grains of sand, ceramic, or other particulates, that prevent the fractures from closing when the injection is stopped.
Some different types of Natural Gas and Oil that can be extracted by Fracking are: Shale Natural Gas, Shale Oil and Light Tight Oil. Shale Oil is recovered from Shale rock, while Natural Gas and Light Tight Oil are recovered from denser Shale Tight rock formations.
Considerable controversy surrounds the current implementation of Fracking technology in North America. Environmental safety and health concerns have emerged and are being debated by Governments and Environmental Agencies.
You can find more information about Fracking drilling techniques at FracFocus.org.