DEFINITIONS AND DOCUMENTS
Hydraulic fracturing or “fracking”
Hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” is a proven technology used for over 60 years, and one of many processes used in energy development. When hydraulic fracturing begins, a mixture of mostly pressurized water, sand, and chemicals is pumped into the formation creating tiny fissures in targeted areas of the source rock. These tiny fissures allow oil and natural gas to escape and flow through piping up to the surface.
The combination of fracking, which has been around for decades, with the modernization of horizontal drilling, has revolutionalized natural gas and oil production.
Horizontal drilling starts with a vertical well that turns horizontal within the reservoir rock in order to expose more open hole to the reservoir. These horizontal “legs” can be over a mile long; the longer the exposure length, the more oil and natural gas is reached. Horizontal wells are attractive because they are used where conventional drilling is impossible or cost prohibitive, they significantly reduce surface disturbance by requiring less wells, and they can produce as much as 15 to 20 times as much oil and gas compared to a vertical well.
Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission
The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) regulates oil and natural gas production in Colorado. It is tasked with fostering the responsible development of Colorado’s resources in a manner consistent with the protection of public health, safety and welfare, as well as preventing and mitigating adverse environmental impacts.
The COGCC requires that all oil and natural gas producers disclose the chemicals and amount of water used in the process to FracFocus, a free, publicly accessible website.