Hydraulic Fracturing, or Fracking, has a much longer history than many might assume. In fact, versions of the technique date back to the United States Civil War, specifically, April 25, 1865. Today, fracking represents about 30% of oil and natural gas reserves in the United States. This represents seven billion barrels of recoverable oil, and 600 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in large shale deposits such as the Bakken shale.
The first patent for hydraulic fracturing technology was awarded to Col. Edward A. L. Roberts on April 25, 1865. Roberts’ “exploding torpedo” expanded the production of individual wells by using explosives. The borehole was filled with water, called “fluid tamping”, which allowed the torpedo to fracture surrounding oil strata. The technique brought some wells a 1200% increase in production. Twenty years later, this technique had been performed almost one million times by Halliburton and Stanolind (Pan American Oil Company), and exclusive licenses were issues to Haliburton in 1953.
The Shale Boom
The 1980s brought with it the Shale Boom, a period in which Mitchell Energy & Development Corp. began experimenting with hydraulic fracturing in the Barnett Shale near Fort Worth. The use of hydraulic fracturing allowed large amounts of natural gas to be extracted from shale formations efficiently. Other shale regions were opened for exploration in Arkansas, Pennsylvania, and North Dakota, where the large Bakkan shale formation is located.
Today, 90% of oil wells in operation have used hydraulic fracturing to increase production, and oil and gas can now be extracted from previously difficult areas, such as gas sands and shale deposits.
InduSoft has played a role in the oil and gas industry by offering the interface for the exploration of oil and gas strata and offering real-time analysis in the cloud, as well as providing a platform for creating safety measures for oil and gas exploration.