Hydraulic fracturing is a proven technology used safely for more than 60 years in more than a million wells. It uses water pressure to create fissures in deep underground shale formations that allow oil and natural gas to flow.
Oil and natural gas are the lifeblood of the U.S. economy. As of 2016, they meet two thirds of our energy needs and more oil and natural gas are projected to be needed to meet our energy needs in the decades ahead. Technological innovation is helping produce more domestic natural gas and oil than ever before. The U.S. has entered an era of energy abundance that will ensure we can meet our energy needs and drive economic growth well into the future.
The energy renaissance of the past decade has been the result of an unprecedented level of drilling and production activity in areas with plentiful oil and natural gas resources. The industry’s dedication to delivering environmental stewardship on a project-by-project basis is a central component of their license to operate.
Hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, uses water pressure to create fissures in shale rock
formations deep underground to release natural gas and oil. Advances in fracking and horizontal drilling
technologies have unlocked billions of cubic feet of natural gas and hundreds of millions of barrels of oil,
created millions of jobs, and produced staggering amounts of economic activity. This shale energy
revolution has made America the world’s top natural gas and oil producer, delivering lower energy prices
for consumers in a safer, cleaner, more reliable way.
The oil and natural gas industry can bring prosperity, economic development and enhancements to an area and assist in securing national energy interests. To promote natural gas and oil development that results in a positive experience for communities, the industry works through exchange of information with local stakeholders to align its activities with community concerns, prioritize responsible practices and incorporate lessons learned from former experiences.
Hydraulic fracturing is an essential well completion technology for the development of unconventional resources, such as natural gas that is trapped in shale rock formations.
Advanced hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling are the technology engines driving America’s ongoing energy renaissance – surging oil and natural gas production that ranks first in the world. This oil and natural gas production, enabled by hydraulic fracturing, strengthen U.S. energy security, boost the economy and lower consumer energy costs. In addition, the increased use of cleaner-burning natural gas is the main reason U.S. greenhouse gas emissions from electricity generation are at their lowest level in 25 years.
The underground disposal of produced waters from oil
and natural gas (O&G) operations has proven to be a
safe and environmentally reliable means of managing
this water. Currently, there are nearly 172,000 Class II
Underground Injection Control (UIC) wells regulated by
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the Safe
Drinking Water Act and delegated to 31 state agencies.
These wells, used for salt water disposal, enhanced oil
recovery, and hydrocarbon storage, serve a vital role by
supporting the responsible and sustainable development
of O&G resources. These O&G Class II UIC wells are a subset
of the more than 800,000 permitted UIC wells nationwide
which serve the needs of many different industries and
In our on-going effort toward continued improvement of oil and natural gas operations, in May of 2011, API completed a series of industry guidance documents, of which portions were pertinent to hydraulic fracturing. This led to a two-day workshop titled Commitment to Excellence in Hydraulic Fracturing in Pittsburgh, PA in October of 2011 to formally discuss the content of the HF series documents. The initial meeting was followed 14 additional workshops across the country from January – May 2012 educating the industry, the public, the media, and federal and state legislators and regulators about the API’s standard setting process and the HF series.
API is the world’s leading standard-developing organization for the oil and natural gas industry. This document is an overview of industry guidance documents and best practices supporting hydraulic fracturing operations.