The astonishing amount of natural gas which is now available in North America is largely due to relatively recent developments in recovering natural gas from shale deposits. Massive shale deposits under the continental United States in Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas and Appalachia contain enormous amounts of natural gas. But until fracking was developed to be a safe and efficient drilling technique, this natural gas was not available for commercial recovery.

Here’s the way hydro-fracking works:

  • Every well is unique, so geologists and engineers carefully create a drilling plan which will recover the maximum amount of natural gas with a minimum amount of environmental exposure, the smallest possible above ground footprint, and the least amount of water possible.
  • Wells about 12 inches in diameter – about the width of a laptop computer – are drilled straight down for about a mile. The vast majority of fresh water supplies are hundreds of feet below the surface. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, aquifers are rarely found 6,000 feet deep. The average depth of a deep shale natural gas well is well over 7,500 feet.
  • A mixture of water, sand, and a tiny amount of highly diluted additives are sent down the well to generate hairline cracks (fractures) in the shale. The sand props open the cracks allowing the natural gas to flow in a controlled manner up to the surface.
  • Most of the liquid returns to the surface where it is either used again in similar wells, or disposed of under stringent regulations.

A new study by J.P. Morgan Chase has shown that there are approximately 8,000 trillion cubic feet (TCF) of natural gas in the shale deposits in North America. Hydro-fracking is the safest, most efficient mechanism currently available for recovering that natural gas.

From the very beginning, Boone has talked about “anything American” as his favorite fuel source, and every fuel source has plusses and minuses. The perfect fuel has not yet been invented, and the Pickens Plan has been careful not to attempt to pick winners and losers in domestic energy. But natural gas is among the safest, most abundant, cleanest, cheapest, and most widely distributed fuels in America.

That makes natural gas worthwhile to discover, to recover, and to use as America’s fuel.

Click here to learn more about the natural gas extraction process.