Happy Birthday! Shale Fracking Turns 20 Years Old

Directional underground (i.e. horizontal) drilling has been around and actively used in oil and gas drilling since the 1930s–nearly 80 years now. Hydraulic fracturing (fracking) has been around for more than 60 years. But the marriage of the two in order to drill in “tight” rock layers, like shale, has only been around for 20 years. In fact, last week marked the 20th anniversary of George Mitchell (Mitchell Energy) successfully blending the two technologies together to drill in the Barnett Shale of north Texas. In 1998, the new technique was a huge success when the first 90 days of gas production from the S.H. Griffin No. 3 well exceeded production of any of Mitchell Energy’s previous wells. The discovery of horizontal fracking led to what is now called the shale revolution. It is not hyperbole to say it changed the planet. Here’s how…

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