Fracking, also known as hydraulic fracturing, is a process used to extract oil and natural gas from underground rock formations. The method involves drilling deep into the earth’s surface and creating fractures in the rock layers with pressurized water, sand, and chemicals. This technique has been controversial due to its potential environmental impact on groundwater resources and air quality.
Although fracking has gained popularity over the past few decades, the history of this technique dates back much further than many people realize. In fact, tracing the origins of fracking can be quite complex as different individuals have contributed varying aspects to its creation.
The Beginning Stages
One of the earliest mentions of fracking techniques was noted way back in 1865 by Edward Roberts who was an English inventor developing methods for drilling wells with primitive rotary drills. His patent specified applying liquid under pressure below ground which would create fractures in rocks around perforated pipe leading to easier flow rates.
The Early Innovation
Another early innovator advancing modern hydraulic fracturing was Floyd Farris, an American petroleum engineer who worked for Stanolind Oil & Gas Corporation during World War II. He began experimenting with new ways to optimize oil production when he discovered that fractures created using explosives were not consistent or safe enough.
Farris set out a challenge aimed at finding a safer way: Inspired by bingo playing women near his home town claiming they had better ball games’ results after drying off their cards — realising how solutions containing surfactants such as soap greatly reduced surface tension while injecting them down oil wells at high-pressure could get greater output effect within well structures already fracked via explosives yet realise better safety standards around dangerous gasses contained there from previous practices – thus ending up initially applying this concept towards improving human life through advanced domestic chemistry before seeing utility value here vis-à-vis safety improvements regarding energy extraction sites where flammability risks existed.’
As such point contact nature highly porous shale rocks complicated matter considerably seeking to puncture them ‘convince’ proprietorial hydrocarbons remained there. This led Farris complementing the solution with sand grains, first using fine diameter ground up glass in place of traditional silicates grounded from quartz for lower friction coefficient.
Farris’ allowed oil and gas companies to drill deeper than ever before while reducing the risk involved with explosive fracturing techniques. These advancements improved safety protocols that are still used today, making modern fracking possible.
The Modern Technique
While hydraulic fracturing has been around since 1865, it wasn’t until the mid-20th century that more sophisticated methods began to emerge. The process became widespread in the United States by the late 1990s when Mitchell Energy developed unconventional drilling techniques enabling harvesting natural gas from shale rock formations known as Barnett Shale under Texas being most cost-effective way of doing so when global energy prices soared post-9/11 incidents driving research into such challenging topographical conditions needed novel solutions otherwise too expensive tapping reserves there otherwise
George P. Mitchell was an American petroleum engineer who made significant contributions to hydraulic fracturing advancements during his career at Mitchell Energy & Development Corp., now part of Devon Energy Corp.. He determined how fractures could be channeled horizontally instead solely vertically meaning drilling time and associated risks reduced dramatically achieving even better connection rates between reservoirs well bore holes through increased network arteries tapping greater quantities hydrocarbon field easily achievable – “fractured slanted wells” concept born!
Despite George’s Carter administration incentivization towards renewable energy resources alongside other bureaucratic hurdles he faced shifting US politics landscape vis-a-vis breakthrough discoveries adjacent water sources downplaying supposed environmental hazards tied onto this technique resulted facing opposition among mainstream media outlets largely misrepresentative thus forming basis for many anti-fracking movements worldwide; ultimately contributing factors putting fossil fuels into NIMBY battle against green alternatives particularly those like solar or wind which can’t receive same negative campaigning efforts due often being out-of-sight eye, and at times out-of-mind.
In conclusion, hydraulic fracturing has been around since the mid-1800s when engineers began experimenting with different ways to extract oil and natural gas from underground rock formations. The technique was advanced by Floyd Farris during World War II, who found a safer way to create fractures in rocks using pressurized liquids rather than explosives. Later advancements made by George P. Mitchell allowed for horizontal hydraulic fracturing, which has transformed the industry over recent decades.
Despite being recognized as one of the most cost-effective ways of extracting hydrocarbons responsible for powering global economies into future there still exist valid concerns about environmental safety issues associated tied onto this technology regarding ground water management pollution including air quality impacts must be taken seriously addressed adequately before continuing application thereof continues onwards too quickly growing ever hungry domestic consumption economy will demand easy gains servicing greatest need it desires – fossil fuel energy derivatives remain undisputed champion providing unparalleled stability meeting these needs demands until much more advanced substitutes are available may not transpire anytime soon without them receiving similar scrutiny.