Hydraulic fracturing is a process where water, a small amount of additives, and sand or another proppant are pumped down a well at high pressure to a targeted formation. The pressure causes the rock in that formation to fracture. When the pumping pressure is relieved, the water flows back up the well to surface, and leaves the sand behind to prop open the cracks or fractures. This process allows the natural gas to escape from these formations, and flow to the surface where it is processed and shipped by pipeline to market.
On average, the hydraulic fracturing process takes only 3 to 10 days. Once completed, the well will produce natural gas for several decades.
Facts about Hydraulic Fracturing
Hydraulic fracturing is not new. It has been used to recover oil and gas in Western Canada for over 60 years with an established safety record and continually improving environmental performance.
- More than 175,000 wells have been fractured safely in Western Canada over the last 60 years
- In fact, there are currently more than 1,500 natural gas wells in B.C. producing natural gas for use in homes, businesses and industry all across British Columbia that were developed using hydraulic fracturing.
- 60 percent of all natural gas delivered by pipelines every day to hundreds of thousands of homes in British Columbia has been extracted using hydraulic fracturing.
- Water and sand constitute more than 99 per cent of fracturing fluid.
Natural Gas Development Infographic
Responsible Natural Gas Development