"Rather than expand government, public policy should end preferential subsidies for politically favored energies and privatize such assets as public-land resources and the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. Multibillion-dollar energy programs at the U.S. Department of Energy should be eliminated. Such policy reform can simultaneously increase energy supply, improve energy security, reduce energy...
1. What is the history of fracking in America?Submitted by MikeChalberg on Tue, 2012-05-01 16:55
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Technically, the basic concept behind fracking has been used for over a century. Using a procedure which was then called "shooting," individuals and companies searching for natural gas and oil used to use nitroglycerin explosions to expose underground reservoirs. In fact, a Civil War veteran received a patent for the "exploding torpedo," later known as the "Roberts Torpedo," in 1865. The idea actually came to the former Colonel during a Civil War battle as he observed artillery shells splitting the ground open. Colonel Roberts' new device was wildly successful and made him a fortune, as some wells saw increased production of over 1000%. Below is a sketch of Roberts' "torpedo" patent.
Roberts' invention set the groundwork for a company that still lasts today. Though the explosion techniques was refined and advanced, the basic concept remained the same. Now under the name Tallini and Otto Cupler Torpedo Company, nitroglycerin is no longer used, but the company is still in the fracking business.
Commercial fracking began to expand in the 1940s after Halliburton invented the modern fracking rig. Soon thereafter the process spread throughout the country. By 2010, about 2.5 million wells had been fracked with this technology. Because this technique does not use explosives, it quickly replaced most fracking which involved detonations. Moreover, natural gas consumption has increased to about 23% of the world's total. The Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimates that total natural gas consumption will increase by about 50% by 2035.
By the 1970s, in the midst of an energy crisis in America, fracking began to get more noticed. President Carter announced that the country was running out of natural gas. At the same time, the Eastern Gas Shales Project showed that, as natural gas entrepreneur Dan Steward said, "[There is] a hell of a lot of gas in shales." Since Steward's blunt announcement, fracking shale formations has provided America and the world with vast amounts of natural gas; so much gas, in fact, that prices have begun to plummet to levels which just a decade ago seemed impossibly low.
Though fracking has a long and colorful history, modern fracking techniques are quite new. The new fracking rigs are much more powerful and the projects are on a far larger scale.