DEFINITION of 'Fracking'

A slang term for hydraulic fracturing. Fracking refers to the procedure of creating fractures in rocks and rock formations by injecting fluid into cracks to force them further open. The larger fissures allow more oil and gas to flow out of the formation and into the wellbore, from where it can be extracted.

Fracking has resulted in many oil and gas wells attaining a state of economic viability, due to the level of extraction that can be reached.


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Petroleum engineers have used fracking as a means of increasing well production since the late 1940s. Fractures can also exist naturally in formations, and both natural and man-made fractures can be widened by fracking. As a result, more oil and gas can be extracted from a given area of land.

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  5. What country is the world's largest natural gas producer?

    The United States is the largest producer of natural gas, overtaking Russia in 2009, and producing approximately 681.4 billion ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. Where and when is fracking advantageous?

    Economically speaking, hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," is advantageous whenever new oil supply can be brought to market ... Read Full Answer >>
  7. How does fracking affect oil prices?

    Hydraulic fracturing has helped boost the rate at which oil and gas can be extracted from wells, particularly in the United ... Read Full Answer >>
  8. How has fracking helped the U.S. to decrease dependence on foreign oil?

    Fracking has led to substantial increases in U.S. domestic oil and gas production, thereby significantly reducing the need ... Read Full Answer >>
  9. What regulations are in place that affect fracking?

    Regulations on hydraulic fracturing in the United States vary from state to state. On the federal level, fracking is primarily ... Read Full Answer >>
  10. How does fracking increase oil production?

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    The oil and gas industry has been expanding consistently for decades due, in part, to the advances in technology in the processes ... Read Full Answer >>

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