DEFINITION of 'Hydraulic Fracturing'
Hydraulic fracturing refers to the procedure of creating fractures in rocks and rock formations by injecting a mixture of sand and water into the cracks to force underground to open further. The larger fissures allow more oil and gas to flow out of the formation and into the well bore, from where it can be extracted.
Hydraulic Fracturing has resulted in many oil and gas wells attaining a state of economic viability, due to the level of extraction that can be reached.
BREAKING DOWN 'Hydraulic Fracturing'
Petroleum engineers have used hydraulic fracturing 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 this process. As a result, more oil and gas can be extracted from a given area of land.