What is fracking?

Process

Fracking is a process for extracting gas and oil (called shale gas and shale oil) from the ground. The process consist to inject into the underground rocks a mixture of water, sands and chemical under a high pressure.

The goal is to create bills in the rock to release gas. The process can be carried out vertically or, more commonly, by drilling horizontally to the rock layer.

Different steps

Step 1 – Drilling

  1. Construction of a flat concrete pad and a access road
  2. Vertical drilling (1,000 – 6,000 feet) to shale layer
  3. At the shale layer, drill turns and moves horizontally
  4. Drill removed, steel pipes pushed down the shaft
  5. Cement is pushed down and around the pipes to act as a barrier

Step 2 – Fracking

A perforating gun is lowered to the end of the bore. Small explosions are set off, fracturing (cracking) the shale.

Fracking fluid is made bye water, sand and chemicals. This fluid is pumped in at very high pressure to enlarge the cracks made in the shale and release the gas.

The gas released 25% to 40% of fracking fluid, now mixed with gas, salt, volatile chemicals and heavy metals, back up the pipe (flow-back).

The gas is next transported via tankers or pipes to a refinery.

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