3. Hydraulic fracturing (2 to 5 days)
In many unconventional wells, however, the drill bit then turns and drills horizontally through the gas-bearing rock. Hydraulic fracturing fluid is then pumped down the well and into the target reservoir, creating small fractures in the rock.
The fractures are held open by grains of sand that are mixed into the hydraulic fracturing fluid, allowing the natural gas to escape from the tight rock and flow up through the well.
Hydraulic fracturing fluid is typically comprised of approximately 98 - 99.5 per cent water and sand, and 0.5 - 2 per cent chemical additives. Most of these additives can be found in common household items.
The chemicals in hydraulic fracturing fluid serve various functions, such as reducing friction and protecting the rock formation, thereby making the hydraulic fracturing process safer and more efficient.
Hydraulic fracturing is a time-tested, proven technology that has been safely used in more than a million wells worldwide since the 1940s.