Bet You'd Be Shocked by How Much of Our Natural Gas Comes From Fracking

May 7, 2017

Natural gas is a key source of energy, and a feedstock in thousands of consumer and industrial products. And a controversial production method is used to produce more than half of it.

While crude oil dominates the energy news, natural gas is one of the most important -- yet often overlooked -- sources of energy in the United States. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, more than one-third of America's electricity comes from natural gas; half of American homes use it for cooking, heating water and drying clothes; tens of billions of dollars' worth of goods are made from it, and hundreds of thousands of vehicles use it as a fuel.

A whopping two-thirds of the natural gas produced in the U.S. is produced with hydraulic fracturing. And while there is some controversy around the risks of fracking, it has driven a huge increase in natural gas production and lowered the cost of the goods and energy produced from it. 

Fracking isn't a brand-new innovation -- it's actually used to some degree for decades to enhance oil and gas recovery. But as the table shows, it's only been in the past decade that it's become a key method for extraction.

But it's not just fracking alone that's increased; it was the pairing of horizontal drilling with hydraulic fracturing that's driven the increase in the use of fracking.

Here's how fracking and horizontal drilling changed natural gas production

Around a decade ago, there were serious concerns that America's supply of accessible natural gas was running out. Traditional vertical drilling methods had nearly exhausted the majority of North America's conventional reserves. In 2002, U.S. natural gas production peaked and would fall for the next four years. This situation caused natural gas prices to more than triple from 2000 to 2006...

Read entire article at Motley Fool.


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