Hydraulic Fracturing

Hydraulic Fracturing is one of America’s greatest weapons to increase our strength as a global energy leader by unlocking rich domestic resources of oil and natural gas. 

In recent years, many Americans began to hear the term 'hydraulic fracturing' for the first time.  But while this was the first time this process was coming on to the radar of many people, it is anything but new.  

Hydraulic fracturing has been around since the 1940's, with more than a million wells completed using this method.  Today, it is used across America to access previously unreachable stores of oil and natural gas deep within shale formations.  The process has a long track record of success and safety, with not one case of groundwater contaimination ever being caused by it in more than six decades.

In June, 2015, even the EPA concluded that fracking has not harmed the water supplies.

The benefits of utilizing hydraulic fracturing are numerous.

  • Creates Jobs. Shale development could support 2.5 million jobs in 2015, 3 million in 2020 and 3.5 million in 2035 -- not only in the oil and natural gas industry, but also in communities where development takes place. These include suppliers, service providers, restaurants, lodging, manufacturing and other support businesses. 
  • Promotes economic growth. Shale development using hydraulic fracturing will generate more than $2.5 trillion in cumulative federal, state and local tax receipts between 2012 and 2035. 
  • Saves Energy Costs. America’s Natural Gas Association (ANGA) estimates that lower gas prices will add an additional $926 of disposable household income annually between 2012 and 2015, and that the amount could increase to $2,000 by 2035. 
  • Proven Safe. Companies have safely been developing shale for decades using hydraulic fracturing by adhering to established standards and regulation. 

Across America, stringent standards and regulations govern hydraulic fracturing to protect the environment and citizens.

Hydraulic fracturing is an advanced, proven technique whereby “fracturing fluids”, comprised of over 99.5% water and sand, and less than 0.5% chemicals, are injected under high pressure into a shale formation, creating fissures that free the natural gas to flow from rock pores where it is trapped. To learn more about hydraulic fracturing, watch the video below.  In just a few minutes, you will gain an understanding of the critical steps that take place before hydraulic fracturing even begins; the safety measures used to protect the fresh water aquifer; and the hydraulic fracturing process itself.


Nearly 80 percent of natural gas wells drilled in the next decade will require hydraulic fracturing because it allows access to formations that had not been accessible without the technology. Oil and natural gas companies have the benefit of gaining from the experience of an industry that has used this technology in nearly one million wells over 60 years. The combined expertise of thousands of workers in this field has developed comprehensive standards, procedures and regulations to protect citizens and the environment.

Protecting the Environment through Standards, Regulations and Experience

The oil and natural gas industry understands there are environmental risks associated with drilling and hydraulic fracturing.  These risks, however, are mitigated through the establishment of stringent standards, policies and regulations, many of which were developed by, or in conjunction with, oil and natural gas companies with more than a century of experience.  

Companies drilling for natural gas in the Marcellus Shale have more than a century of experience and have worked with industry trade groups, such as the American Petroleum Institute (API), to create best practice standards used for oil and natural gas operations. 

 States already srict regulations in place for oil and natural gas drilling and operations, and many are reviewing policies to allow for further the development using hydraulic fracturing. Each state must make its decisions based on fact, however, and not on exaggerations.  For example, hydraulic fracturing has often been misconstrued as the cause for water contamination, when in fact there has been no proof for causality.

Rather than focus on the exaggerated risks, misinformation or even rumor, here are the facts:

  • Oil and natural gas shale development is already effectively being conducted in many states. To date, there have been no confirmed cases of groundwater contamination from hydraulic fracturing.
  • The companies that drill for natural gas have over a century of experience, and have been using hydraulic fracturing since 1940 to extract oil and natural gas from approximately one million wells.
  • The industry has developed and continually reviews extensive standards and operating procedures which are used worldwide to guide all aspects of oil and natural gas production including those involved with hydraulic fracturing.

American can join in on this amazing energy revolution today, helping to secure America's national security interests by reducing our dependence on foreign sources of oil from countries that don't share America's intersts, by embracing this proven and safe technology. 

Please read more about the facts behind drilling for natural gas, including hydraulic fracturing, as well as the background on the industry experience, standards and regulations that will protect the environment, drinking water and the public in areas where oil and natural gas can be produced.

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