It’s likely that you’ve heard the terms fracking and drilling thrown around by local politicians. While it may seem like these two terms are interchangeable, that’s simply not the case. Here is a look at the differences between these two activities so that you can better understand what each entails.
What Is Fracking?
Fracking is the process of using a horizontal approach to extract oil from shale rock. This may be referred to as hydraulic fracturing by some. Fracking is considered a harder method of extracting oil than simply drilling. Those who frack drill both vertically and horizontally into shale rock. Then, high-pressure is used to inject a mixture of chemicals, water, and sand into the drilled out rock. This causes fracturing to occur, which releases the oil. Companies can use a fracking equipment rental to lower some costs of fracking.
What Is Drilling?
Conventional drilling is using a vertical approach to extract oil from shale rock. Drilling is considered the easier of the two approaches to extract the oil, and is often somewhat cheaper to complete.
A Look at Production Cost
When one takes a look at the price of producing one barrel of oil from fracking compared to one of drilling, it becomes overly explicit which method is clearly cheaper. Fracking shale oil can cost anywhere between $50 and $90 per barrel. The depth of the extraction is going to play a big role in the production price per barrel. With conventional drilling, it costs $10 to $40 per barrel for most major providers. For this reason, many fracking operations will go idle during times when oil prices drop as they’re unable to make a profit.
Why Is Fracking Becoming More Common?
Due to the nature of how fracking works, it allows many firms to reach difficult places that house valuable gas and oil resources. This extraction process has allowed much of the United States to exploit its own resources. It’s estimated that the United States will have gas security for the next 100 years due to the fracking process.
Drilling and fracking are two common methods for extracting valuable gas and oil from below the earth’s surface. While both processes are different in their method for obtaining that gas or oil, each one has its own benefits over the other. Hopefully, you now have a much better idea of what drilling is and what fracking is.
Anica is a professional content and copywriter who graduated from the University of San Francisco. She loves dogs, the ocean, and anything outdoor-related. You can connect with Anica on Twitter @AnicaOaks.