A Historic Perspective
Hydraulic fracturing is not new. The first commercial application of hydraulic fracturing as a well treatment technology designed to stimulate the production of oil or gas likely occurred in either the Hugoton field of Kansas in 1946 or near Duncan Oklahoma in 1949. In the ensuing sixty plus years, the use of hydraulic fracturing has developed into a routine technology that is frequently used in the completion of gas wells, particularly those involved in what’s called “unconventional production,” such as production from so-called “tight shale” reservoirs. The process has been used on over 1 million producing wells. As the technology continues to develop and improve, operators now fracture as many as 35,000 wells of all types (vertical and horizontal, oil and natural gas) each year.
Hydraulic fracturing has had an enormous impact on America’s energy history, particularly in recent times. The ability to produce more oil and natural gas from older wells and to develop new production once thought impossible has made the process valuable for US domestic energy production. Without hydraulic fracturing, as much as 80 percent of unconventional production from such formations as gas shales would be, on a practical basis, impossible.