The technical literature on horizontal wells and hydraulic fracturing adapted to shale is extensive, covering 30 years of development, with over 550 papers on shale hydraulic fracturing and 3000 papers on aspects of horizontal wells.
- Depending on the subsurface formation, a technique called hydraulic fracturing is required to release the gas trapped deep underground.
- Hydraulic fracturing involves pumping a fluid down the well at high pressure to open tiny cracks in the target rock reservoir.
- Hydraulic fracturing can be traced back over 60 years in Australia.
- Regulated petroleum activities have been occurring in Western Australia for the past 60 years without compromising health, safety or the environment. During that period, nearly 780 hydraulic fracture stimulation activities have been conducted without major incident.
The hydraulic fracturing process – also referred to as ‘fraccing’ or ‘fracking’ – is used to increase the flow of oil and gas to a well, increasing production and reducing the total number of wells needed to develop a resource. It allows commercialisation of low permeability reservoirs in which oil and gas do not easily flow. It can also be used with other natural resources, such as to access geothermal energy, and to increase water production.