Hydraulic Fracturing

Hydraulic fracturing is a means of extracting natural gas from shale formations such as the Marcellus Shale.   It is a proven technology and has been used since the 1940s in more than one million wells in the United States to help produce oil and natural gas.

Hydraulic fracturing is an advanced, effective technique whereby “fracturing fluids”, comprised of more than 99.5 percent water and sand, and less than 0.5 percent chemicals, are injected under high pressure into a shale formation, creating fissures that free the natural gas to flow from rock pores where it is trapped. To learn more about hydraulic fracturing, watch the video below.  In just a few minutes, you will gain an understanding of the critical steps taken before hydraulic fracturing even begins; the safety measures used to protect the fresh water aquifer; and the hydraulic fracturing process itself. 

Click Image for Video Explaining Horizontal Drilling and Hydraulic Fracturing

Nearly 80 percent of natural gas wells drilled in the next decade will require hydraulic fracturing because it allows access to formations, like shale oil and shale gas, available now as a result of technological advances.  Pennsylvanians, however, have the benefit of gaining from the experience of an industry that has used this technology in nearly one million wells for more than 60 years. The combined expertise of thousands of workers in this field has developed comprehensive standards, procedures and regulations to protect citizens and the environment.

Pennsylvania Ensures Safety of Hydraulic Fracturing

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) regulates the extraction of the state's rich natural gas resources to ensure that it is done in a safe and environmentally responsible manner. The department oversees the entire process, from planning and permitting of a well through the production phase (including hydraulic fracturing), and finally through the plugging of the wells when they are no longer in use. This video, below, explains the role of the Pennsylvania DEP in ensuring compliance with strict environmental standards and describes the process in an easy-to-understand and visual format. 

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