In the Eagle Ford Shale region, hydraulic fracturing is used in combination with horizontal drilling and other technological innovations for a more effective recovery of oil and natural gas.
According to the American Petroleum Institute (API) hydraulic fracturing was first introduced in the United States in 1947. Over the past six decades, the technology and processes surrounding hyrdraulic fracturing have been continually enhanced and safely utilized in more than a million wells. The process of hydraulic fracturing is accompanied by microseisms that are used to recognize and enhance field development of the wells, resources and stage treatments.
Hydraulic fracturing typically takes place a mile or more below the earth’s surface. The initial wellbore is drilled from the surface, past groundwater levels (or aquifers) and on through thousands of feet of rock that sit below the groundwater reservoirs. Once at optimal depths, the well bore is lined with multiple layers of steel cased in cement to separate drilling activities from fresh water supplies.
Once that process is complete, a pressurized mix of fluids is pumped through the wellbore and into the rock formation. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), this process creates fractures in the rock formation that stimulate a flow of natural gas or oil, and once the injection is complete, internal pressure from the rock formation causes fluid to return level to the surface through the wellbore.
Horizontal drilling, in combination with hydraulic fracturing, allows industry operators to access oil and natural gas reserves previously considered unreachable. These enhanced processes also allow companies to consolidate wellbores into single locations, imposing less environmental impact on a region.
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