The Energy Information Administration ( 2016 )

1250 Words5 Pages
In 2015 the United States produced an average of 9.4 million barrels of crude oil a day, a rate of production not seen in over 45 years (EIA, 2015). In 2008 production averaged 5 million barrels a day. This drastic increase in production can be attributable, in part, to advances in hydraulic fracturing. According to the Energy Information Administration (2016) this controversial drilling technology has been in use for over 6 decades, but has otherwise contributed relatively little to total crude oil output. In 2000 23,000 hydraulic fractured wells produced 102,000 barrels of oil a day, or 2% of the total national output. In 2015 there were 300,000 hydraulically fractured wells producing 4.3 million barrels of oil a day, a 4,000% increase…show more content…
A 2008 assessment by the United States Geological Survey (2013) of Bakken shale formation determined that an estimated 3.65 billion barrels of oil were technically recoverable. A subsequent reassessment in 2013 found the formation contained 7.4 billion barrels of undiscovered and technically recoverable oil reserves (USGS, 2013). Nevertheless, many in the shale production industry believe the Bakken formation may contain over 20 billion barrels of technically recoverable oil (SAFE, 2012).

What is Hydraulic Fracturing? Certain geological formations may contain deposits of natural gas and petroleum; however, these formations generally have extremely low permeability (Earthworks (EW), 2016). Hydraulic fracturing is process that increases the permeability of these rock formations, making the fossil fuels contained within more extractable (EW, 2016). Although hydraulic fracturing has been in use for over 60 years, only recently has it gained widespread use. Fracking begins by drilling a well and inserting a steel pipe known as a casing. The casing contains perforations within a “target zone” where there is assumed to be natural gas or oil supplies (EW, 2016). Once the casing is in position “fracturing fluid” is pumped into the casing, and injected into the well through the perforations at the target zone (EW, 2016). The rock formation absorbs the fluid until it becomes saturated, at which point pressure begins to build in the well, causing
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