The vast majority of all wells drilled in unconventional reservoirs require hydraulic fracture stimulation – a process used safely by the industry for more than 65 years. The combination of hydraulic fracturing and innovative drilling techniques is safely unlocking vast reserves of oil and natural gas found in shale and other tight rock formations in the United States.
This revolution has resulted in widespread benefits – including economic growth, job creation, energy security, lower energy costs and increased government revenue while significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions. According to 2013 data from the Environmental Protection Agency’s annual Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program, “Reported methane emissions from petroleum and natural gas systems sector have decreased by 12 percent since 2011, with the largest reductions coming from hydraulically fractured natural gas wells, which have decreased by 73 percent during that period.”
When planning to drill and complete new wells, QEP constantly evaluates well placement in response to nearby offset wells and known faults or fractures to protect the environment and optimize reservoir hydrocarbon drainage. When available, seismic data and other subsurface information are also used in this evaluation.
The Need for Hydraulic Fracturing
Unconventional resources are hydrocarbon reservoirs, such as shale and tight sands, that have extremely low permeability and porosity, so hydraulic fracturing – pumping fluid into the reservoirs to artificially induce fractures – is required to allow hydrocarbons to flow from the rock to the wellbore.
Hydraulic Fracturing is Regulated
Federal and state agencies regulate all well construction activities, including hydraulic fracturing, meaning they review and approve all aspects of oil and natural gas operations.
QEP Supports Transparency
QEP supports disclosure of its hydraulic fracturing activity, including the contents of hydraulic fracturing fluids, to the national online disclosure registry, FracFocus (www.fracfocus.org).