Essay about The Effects Of Hydraulic Fracturing On The Oil Industry

839 Words May 9th, 2016 4 Pages
I was so glad to see this as the discussion topic because it gave me a chance to research hydraulic fracturing. This is a topic that is relevant to the industry I work in plus it has spurred debates all over the country due to the possible environmental hazards associated with this practice.

Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is a fairly new arrival to the fossil fuel manufacturing system but it has shaken things up throughout the industry.

To start at the very beginning, we need to learn what shale is and how it is related to the oil industry. Shale is a comprehensive term that is applied to any fine-grain sedimentary rock. Sedimentary rock includes sandstone and limestone which formed through the compaction of silt, clay and gravel over millennium. This type of rock is very porous and sometimes crude oil and the natural gas it produces is trapped in the rock. Black shale, or that type of rock containing oil, is often found near the location of old oil production fields.

Geologists have long known that black shale contained crude oil, but until the 1990 's they couldn 't figure out how to force the oil out of the rock. They discovered that drillers could force the oil and gas out of the rock by pumping water through the well under high pressure to fracture the shale. This is a pretty simplified description of the process; the water isn 't something you 'd want to drink, there are chemicals added to increase the permeability of the shale. Scientists also…

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