Next video:
Loading the player...

Fracking, a slang term for hydraulic fracturing, is a method of extracting natural gas from sedimentary rocks by injecting them with pressurized fluid. When the fluid is injected, the resulting pressure cracks open the rocks, or widens existing cracks, which helps to improve the extraction of natural resources like gas. The pressurized fluid consists of water, sand and various chemicals. Commercial hydraulic fracturing began in the late 1940s, though fracturing by other means was in use in the late 1800s.

Because it can take millions of gallons of water to frack a single well, water management is a key issue in fracking. The water must be transported to and from the well, and it must be transported to, and cleaned by, a treatment plant before being returned to the water supply. Some of the water used in fracking isn’t treatable and must be disposed of. As a result, fracking is not only an important source of revenue for natural gas companies, but also water management companies that transport and treat the water.

Arguments against fracking include the potential negative consequences on the environment and on people who live near fracking sites.  The chemicals used might contaminate the water supplies in surrounding areas, either underground or above ground; and land may no longer be suitable for farming after fracking has occurred on it. As a result, some local governments have partially or totally banned fracking. 

Supporters argue that thanks to fracking, it is possible to extract essential resources that would otherwise remain trapped within the earth. Supporters also argue that certain advanced fracking techniques cause minimal to no damage to the environment and that the social benefit of fracking outweighs the cost, as it could improve the economy and infrastructure of areas rich with natural resources.     

NatGasCo wants to extract natural gas from the Marcellus Shale formation. It drills a vertical well 7,000 feet below the earth’s surface, then creates a horizontal turnoff inside the well for another 1,000 feet. A special truck pumps 4 million gallons of pressurized fluid into the well, which creates fractures. Natural gas escapes from these fractures, and flows up the well, into storage tanks. It is then transported through pipelines to its destination. Another company that NatGasCo has hired then transports the wastewater away for purification.

 

Related Articles
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Investing

    Fracking Can't Happen Without These Companies

    With all the attention paid to fracking, what is are the good investment opportunities? Are the companies that extract oil and natural gas a good bet?
  4. 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.
  5. Insights

    Chesapeake Sets Record with Massive Frack (CHK)

    Production jumps 70% after company pumps 25,000 tons of sand into the well, a process drillers dubbed “Propaggedon.”
  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

    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.
  8. Investing

    The Reasons for the Mexican-U.S. Oil Swap

    The U.S. government is getting close to a historic deal to allow U.S. producers to swap the light, sweet crude oil that is in too much supply with Mexico, in return for heavy crude.
  9. Investing

    Is Water The Next Big Commodity?

    An increase in both population and pollution has made water a very fragile and important resource. Learn the key players.
  10. Investing

    Water: The ultimate commodity

    We know water is the source of life an essential commodity. But it can also be a source for your portfolio, add water exposure to your portfolio today!
Trading Center