Crude oil prices are hovering around $100 per barrel, and the United States is producing oil at a rate not seen since the Alaska pipeline began flowing in the 1970s. At the same time, the growth of natural gas reserves is unprecedented. Just a few short years ago, many analysts argued that oil was nearly tapped out, and that America needed to plan for a post-petroleum future. Now, however, natural gas has taken the stage.
Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, has created a revolution in U.S. oil and natural gas production. Fracking is the injection of a fluid mixture of water, sand and a small amount of other additives injected deep in the ground to fracture rock formations. This process releases isolated pockets of oil and gas trapped in the surrounding shale rock that are otherwise inaccessible. Fracking has been used since 1949, but recent high prices drove the development of new technologies to open up shale formations. Advancements, such as horizontal drilling, coupled with increasing global demand for oil and domestic demand for natural gas, have turned shale drilling into a bright spot for the U.S. economy….To Read More….