Fracking comes with risks, but it can benefit the economy - and the environment

February 5, 2018

The United States has - or will soon - surpass its record high in crude oil production.

For only two previous months in its history, late in 1970, did domestic producers pull more than 10 million barrels of oil from the rock formations which - for much of the 20th Century - made the U.S. the world's largest producer of oil. But it's about to happen again, and most experts expect growth to continue.

Over roughly the last decade, a suite of innovations have been applied to shale and other "tight" rock formations, including high-volume hydraulic fracturing (better known as "fracking"), precise horizontal drilling, and other technologies which together have led to the "shale revolution," making the United States once again the world's largest producer of hydrocarbons.

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