Hydraulic fracturing (fracking)
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A technique used by the petroleum industry to recover more oil or natural gas from strata that might otherwise be difficult to tap by injecting mixtures of sand, water, and various combinations of chemicals under high pressure into deep underground formations of sandstone or shale containing fossil fuels; also known as fracking. The pressurized fluid, introduced through wells, splits these formations by widening any tiny fractures that are present and thereby frees the oil or gas they contain. That oil or gas can then move up the wellbore for collection. The process is credited with increasing yields from oil and gas fields that have already been drilled extensively or are otherwise hard to exploit through traditional drilling (Fig. 1). See also: Coalbed methane; Methane; Natural gas; Oil and gas field exploitation; Oil and gas well completion; Oil and gas well drilling; Petroleum geology; Rock mechanics; Sandstone; Shale; Well
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