The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Hydraulic Fracturing

Unlocking America's Oil & Natural Gas Resources

Hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” is a proven and well-regulated technology. First used in the 1940s, hydraulic fracturing has unlocked massive new supplies of oil and clean-burning natural gas from dense deposits of shale — supplies that increase our country’s energy security and improve our ability to generate electricity, heat homes and power vehicles for generations to come. Fracking has been used in more than one million U.S. wells, and has safely produced more than seven billion barrels of oil and 600 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.  Learn about the fracking process.

In addition to enhancing our domestic energy supplies, shale development has irrefutable economic benefits. Hydraulic fracturing in the Marcellus and Barnett Shale has boosted local economies—generating royalty payments to property owners, providing tax revenues to the government and creating much-needed high-paying American jobs. Engineering and surveying, construction, hospitality, equipment manufacturing and environmental permitting are just some of the professions experiencing the positive ripple effects of increased oil and natural gas shale development.

Some opponents of oil and natural gas production claim that fracking has serious environmental consequences. The truth is, while all development has challenges, hydraulic fracturing technology has a strong environmental track record and is employed under close supervision by state, local and federal regulators. Studies by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Ground Water Protection Council (GWPC) have confirmed no direct link between hydraulic fracturing operations and groundwater contamination. In fact, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson recently testified that she was “…not aware of any proven case where the fracking process itself has affected water.”

Fracking makes it possible to produce oil and natural gas in places where conventional technologies are ineffective. Access to new wells encourages economic growth and provides energy for all Americans. The oil and natural gas industry is committed to the continued safe and responsible development of our domestic resources and ensuring that the public is part of the conversation. Informed dialogue is critical since studies estimate that up to 80 percent of natural gas wells drilled in the next decade will require hydraulic fracturing technology.

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More Information on Hydraulic Fracturing

  • Energy and Opportunity

    Hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling are safely unlocking vast U.S. reserves of oil and natural gas found in shale and other tight-rock formations

  • Shale Plays in the Lower 48 States

    Used with modern horizontal drilling technology, fracking has unlocked vast U.S. shale reserves

  • Securing Our Energy

    Fracking has unlocked vast reserves of shale and other tight-rock formations to produce an American energy renaissance 

  • Jobs and the Economy

    The economic lift from fracking is being felt strongly in the U.S. manufacturing sector and will continue according to IHS

  • What They are Saying

    Ken Salazar, David Garman, Bryan Burrough, Dan Tormey, Sally Jewell, Mark Nechodom

  • Drilling

    There are zero confirmed cases of groundwater contamination connected to the fracturing operations in one million wells hydraulically fractured over the last 60 years

  • Stimulation

    The fracturing mixture consists primarily of fresh water mixed with some sand and a small proportion of common chemicals

  • State Regulation

    State regulations can be tailored to geological and local needs Federal Regulation Federal statutes regulate every step of the hydraulic fracturing process Industry Standards Working through API's ANSI-accredited standards program

  • Federal Regulation

    Federal statutes regulate every step of the hydraulic fracturing process

  • Industry Standards

    Working through API's ANSI-accredited standards program

  • Water Protection

    Proper well construction provides groundwater protection

  • Water Usage

    A number of companies are working on new technologies that reduce needed volumes as well as ways to fracture wells without water

  • Water Treatment Technologies

    Safe and responsible water management strategies employe innovative technologies to allow reuse of fluids produced during fracturing

  • Air Emissions

    U.S. energy related emissions of CO2 are at their lowest point in two decades

  • Methane Emissions

    While natural gas production has risen, ethane emission have fallen thanks to the oil and natural gas industry's investment in new technologies

  • Seismic Activity

    A review of published research shows no cases of injuries or damage resulting from the very low level of seismicity associated with hydraulic fracturing, which has been used in more than one million wells.

  • Innovations Promote Safe & Environmentally Friendly Practices

    Working on ways to make fracking even safer for the surrounding environment