What Is Fracking?

Hydraulic fracturing transformed the United States into a world leader in oil and natural gas production. In fact, fracking has transformed our world, enabling the efficient production of the energy that powers our lives.

So, what is it?


Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, allows companies to produce more oil and natural gas. The process involves injecting water deep into the ground to crack rock, which allows more oil or natural gas to flow. On average, the process only takes about three to five days to complete. Once the well is "completed," it is ready to produce oil and natural gas for years to come.


What is Fracking?

Hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking”, involves the injection of an average 3-5 million gallons of water plus sand and additives, at high pressure down and across into horizontally drilled wells as far as 10,000 feet below the surface. The pressurized mixture causes the rock layer to establish micro-fissures. These fissures are held open by the sand particles so that natural gas from the shale can flow up the well.


  🆒 ➡️    Sometimes up to 8 local, state, or federal agencies review each drilling site before, during, and after during reclamation phase. You can see all the stages and which agencies here



Though the term “fracking” is often used to describe all oil and gas production from shale and other tight reservoirs, hydraulic fracturing is a technology that has been around for decades.

The fracking techniques most commonly used today became widely known in the 1990s, but the first true attempt to apply fracturing technology was fifty years prior, in the 1940s.

In the 1940s, Floyd Farris of Stanolind Oil and Gas Corporation hypothesized that applying hydraulic pressure to a rock formation might fracture it, and hence increase well productivity. In 1947, the company experimentally applied the process – termed “Hydrafrac” – to a well in the Hugoton Field of southwest Kansas. The experiment proved a success, and in 1949, a patent was issued for the Hydrafrac process and obtained by Halliburton Oil Well Cementing Company. In the first several hundred wells that used hydraulic fracturing, production increased, on average, by 75 percent.


  🆒 ➡️    There have been tremendous advances in innovation with Fracking. You can learn more about the history of fracking, and other innovations in oil and gas, here.



Over 99 percent of fracking fluid is water and sand. The other additives are things you’ll also find under your kitchen sink. One of the most prevalent additives is guar, which is an emulsifying agent that’s also found in ice cream, toothpaste, and numerous other products.


Is fracking wasting water?

What's in Fracking Fluid?


Anti-fracking film Gasland, showed a man in Colorado lighting his faucet on fire and blaming fracking. Before the film was released, Colorado regulators had investigated the case and determined it had nothing to do with oil and natural gas development. In many places, people have been able to light their tap water on fire long before fracking was around, due to naturally occurring methane pockets.


  🆒 ➡️    Over two dozen scientific studies have confirmed: Fracking does not containment groundwater. You can read the studies and their findings for yourself here



Today, fracking is used in approximately 95 percent of oil and gas wells in the United States, and nearly two-thirds of U.S. natural gas production comes fracking, up from just one percent in 2000.

Here in Texas, fracking has enabled oil and gas producers to reach oil and natural gas trapped in previously unreachable shale formations. While Texas has always had a history deeply intertwined with oil and gas, the commercial application of hydraulic fracturing resulted in a resurgence.

Thanks to fracking, the Permian Basin, which spans across Texas and Southeast New Mexico, became one of the most productive shale basins in the world, and catapulted Texas as an energy powerhouse.

The prominent shale basins within Texas. The Permian Basin is the most prolific basin in Texas, producing more oil and natural gas than some countries.


Fracking has touched almost every part of Texas.

Fracking has helped make two of the largest endowments in the country for public education. 


A revival in the manufacturing sector, thousands of jobs, and billions in economic growth all thanks to Fracking


Fracking has made American into an energy powerhouse reshaping global politics and improving our national security.