Hydraulic Fracturing

Hydraulic fracturing schematic
Schematic of hydraulic fracturing

Definition: What is “hydraulic fracturing”?

Hydraulic fracturing – also known as fracking – is a modern extraction technology to extract natural gas and crude oil from hard to reach, unconventional deposits.

Fracking means “to break open”. In hydraulic fracturing, impermeable layers of rock are fractured with water pressure, causing cracks to form. The cracks in the rock of the deposit are held open by propping agents such as ceramic particles or quartz sand so that the crude oil or natural gas can be extracted.

The fracking technique was developed more than 70 years ago. Fracking is used with horizontal drilling.

With fracking, artificial flow channels are created for the extraction of natural gas from shale gas or tight gas deposits. In the conventional extraction of crude oil and natural gas, hydraulic fracturing is used to make remaining volumes accessible.

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