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Hydraulic fracturing (also known as hydrofracturing,“fracking”, or “fracing”) was first used in 1947 in a well in Grant County, Kansas when a mixture of approximately 1,000 gallons of fluid was pumped into an underground formation at a depth of 2,400 feet in an attempt to improve the production of a natural gas well completed in a limestone formation. Since that time, the use of hydraulic fracturing has become a regular practice to stimulate increased production in oil and gas wells in the United States and throughout the world.
Hydraulic fracturing was first introduced in the Illinois Basin in the early to mid-1950’s where it was found to be an effective method to increase production from oil wells in Illinois, Indiana, and western Kentucky. In some areas, the early use of hydraulic fracturing has been credited with increasing average production rates by 75% or more. The practice has been widely used here ever since.
As with any technology, lessons are learned through continued use of hydraulic fracturing regarding the effectiveness of the practice for increasing production. Over time, changes have been made with respect to the volumes and types of fluids used, as well as the additives and proppants incorporated into the fluid mixture.
Recently, especially with the increase in the development of horizontal shale gas wells in various regions of the United States, hydraulic fracturing has become the focus of significant attention, some of which is not supportive of the continued use of this technology, at least not without closer scrutiny. Questions have been raised as to whether the practice is likely to contribute to the contamination of surface or groundwater, or whether it poses significant risks to public health or safety. These important concerns must be carefully evaluated and addressed.
Just as oil and gas production operations differ from region to region, so too does the practice of hydraulic fracturing. This page is intended to be a platform for providing information regarding the use of hydraulic fracturing, especially within Indiana. Viewers are encouraged to visit this site periodically as the content may change from time to time. Feel free to contact us with any questions or comments regarding any of this information or with respect to hydraulic fracturing.
If your group or organization would like to have a representative from the Division of Oil and Gas attend an upcoming meeting to give a presentation on hydraulic fracturing in Indiana, please contact us at 317-232-4058, or by email.