Loading the player...

What is 'Fracking'

Fracking is a slang term for hydraulic fracturing, which is the process of creating fractures in rocks and rock formations by injecting specialized fluid into cracks to force them to open further. The larger fissures allow more oil and gas to flow out of the formations and into the wellbore, from where they can be easily 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, and has allowed drilling firms access to previously difficult-to-reach sources of oil and gas.

BREAKING DOWN 'Fracking'

Fracking is an extraction technique for oil and gas wells in which rocks are fractured artificially with the use of pressurized liquid. The process involves drilling down into the earth and injecting a highly pressurized mixture of water, sand and thickening agent, also called “fracking fluid,” into a wellbore to create cracks in rock formations. Once the hydraulic pressure is removed from the well, the remnants of the fracking fluid hold the fractures open, making it easy to extract the oil and gas inside. 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.

History of Fracking

Fracturing shallow, hard rock wells to extract oil dates back to the 1860s. During that time, nitroglycerin or dynamite was used to increase oil and natural gas output from petroleum-bearing formations. In the late 1940s, petroleum engineers used fracking as a means of increasing well production. The practice of hydraulic fracturing started as an experiment back in 1947 by Floyd Farris of Stanolind Oil and Gas Corporation. The first successful implementation of the process was done in 1950. Since then, fracking had been performed worldwide on oil and gas wells.

What Are the Advantages of Fracking?

Fracking increases the rate at which water, petroleum or natural gas can be recovered from subterranean wells. It has also allowed the extraction of unconventional oil and gas resources from low permeability sites where traditional extraction technologies fail. Fracking as a method for oil and gas extraction is also more economically viable than conventional or horizontal drilling. In the United States, domestic oil production has grown significantly with the introduction of fracking. The process has driven down gas prices and offered gas security to both the United States and Canada for about 100 years.

RELATED TERMS
  1. Non-Hydraulic Fracturing

    Fracturing rock at depth without the use of fluid pressure. Non-hydraulic ...
  2. LPG Fracturing

    Fracturing rock at depth through the use of liquefied propane. ...
  3. Shale Band

    The shale band is the price level at which most North American ...
  4. Re-fracking

    Re-fracking is the practice of returning to older wells that ...
  5. Reserves to Production Ratio

    The reserves to production ratio indicates the remaining lifespan ...
  6. Oil Price to Natural Gas Ratio

    A mathematical ratio comparing the prices of crude oil and natural ...
Related Articles
  1. Investing

    What is Fracking?

    Fracking, a slang term for hydraulic fracturing, is a method for extracting natural gas from sedimentary rocks.
  2. Investing

    Fracking Companies: Practices, Profit Opportunities & Outlook

    Learn about the business opportunities available to companies in the fracking, how they operate and new innovations going on in the stream.
  3. Investing

    Countries With The Highest Fracking Potential

    Is fracking a "necessary evil," as some believe? Here are some countries with huge fracking potential--and what they stand to lose or gain from fracking.
  4. Investing

    How Fracking Affects Natural Gas Prices

    Whatever you think of fracking, it has done one thing: kept the price of natural gas from increasing any more than it has.
  5. Investing

    Fracking and Other Oil Drilling Tech: A Primer

    Well-stimulation technologies have fundamentally changed the market through their recent widespread adoption in North America. Here's a rundown.
  6. Investing

    The Cost of Shale Oil Versus Conventional Oil

    Fracking technology has brought new costs to the oil extraction process, and that has an impact on the profitability of the deposits being drilled.
  7. Investing

    With Fracking It’s All About Water Management

    It takes an awfully large amount of water to frack an oil and gas well these days. Given the growth projections for production activity in the U.S. and Canada, water management could be one of ...
  8. Investing

    Oil Rebound Could Bode Well for Fracking Stocks (RSPP, HES)

    Now that OPEC has cut production costs and oil prices have risen, will the oil and gas industry finally rebound? And will fracking stocks follow suit?
  9. Investing

    The Economics of Oil Extraction

    The overall economics of oil extraction is that there is money in it - both for extraction companies and their investors.
  10. Investing

    3 Ways To Lower Gas Prices

    Gasoline is expensive. From increasing overall supply to lowering demand, there are a few ways gas prices could drop.
RELATED FAQS
  1. How does fracking affect oil prices?

    Read about the short- and long-term impacts of hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, on global oil markets and oil ... Read Answer >>
  2. How does fracking affect natural gas prices?

    Take a deeper look at the impact of hydraulic fracturing on the price for natural gas, and why fracking may eventually price ... Read Answer >>
  3. How has fracking helped the U.S. to decrease dependence on foreign oil?

    Learn about the drilling technique referred to as fracking, and discover how this technology has significantly reduced U.S. ... Read Answer >>
  4. What are the effects of fracking on the environment?

    Understand what environmental concerns exist as it relates to fracking is necessary in weighing the benefits and caveats ... Read Answer >>
  5. Why did oil prices drop so much in 2014?

    Learn the roles that decreased global demand, new supply sources in North America, and actions taken by Saudi Arabia played ... Read Answer >>
Hot Definitions
  1. Ethereum

    Ethereum is a decentralized software platform that enables SmartContracts and Distributed Applications (ĐApps) to be built ...
  2. Cryptocurrency

    A digital or virtual currency that uses cryptography for security. A cryptocurrency is difficult to counterfeit because of ...
  3. Financial Industry Regulatory Authority - FINRA

    A regulatory body created after the merger of the National Association of Securities Dealers and the New York Stock Exchange's ...
  4. Initial Public Offering - IPO

    The first sale of stock by a private company to the public. IPOs are often issued by companies seeking the capital to expand ...
  5. Cost of Goods Sold - COGS

    Cost of goods sold (COGS) is the direct costs attributable to the production of the goods sold in a company.
  6. Profit and Loss Statement (P&L)

    A financial statement that summarizes the revenues, costs and expenses incurred during a specified period of time, usually ...
Trading Center