What Is Fracking? This Animation Is The Best Guide We've Seen Yet


Photo: Marathon via YouTube

Marathon Oil has a great animation on the basics of hydraulic fracturing or “fracking.”  (We found it thanks to Mark Perry’s blog.)Intended for novices, it explains how horizontal drilling works and explains the roles of water and sand.

Not surprisingly, the video doesn’t spend much time on the controversies surrounding the environmental risks.  That discussion is for another time.

For now, check out these key points from the animation that will help any novice speak more intelligently about fracking.

Fracking is used to extract oil and gas from shale reservoirs more than a mile below the surface

When the drill reaches the reservoir, it moves horizontally to allow for access to multiple wells from one drilling pad

Once the drilling is finished, a perforating gun is installed that fires through the casings and into the reservoir

Water, sand, and a chemicals are then pumped deep into the reservoir

The fluid is pumped into the wellbore and out through the perforations, creating fractures into the rock. This is why it's called hydraulic fracturing

The sand in the fluid remains in the fractures, which allows the oil and natural gas to flow to the wellbore easily

The process is repeated along the horizontal section of the well

Then the extraction begins

The entire fracturing process takes roughly three to five months. But the investment can result in a well that can produce for 20-40 years.

Here is the entire video

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