Drilling & Fracturing
The proposed ban on hydraulic fracturing in Denton, Texas
Some residents in Denton, Texas – located in North Texas atop the Barnett Shale – have proposed a ban on hydraulic fracturing within the Denton city limits. Such a ban goes further than just hydraulic fracturing, it is actually a ban on drilling altogether.
This is because Barnett Shale natural gas wells do not produce natural gas until they are hydraulically fractured (a well completion technique also referred to as “fracture stimulation” or “fracking”). If hydraulic fracturing is not allowed, there will be no drilling.
After Barnett Shale natural gas wells have been drilled - a process that usually takes less than two weeks - the one-week process of hydraulic fracturing or fracking takes place. The actual fracking process involves pumping a mixture of water, sand and a small amount of chemical additives into the wellbore at a pressure sufficient to induce small fractures in the shale rock. After production equipment such as tanks and pipelines are installed, the well goes on to produce natural gas for decades.
Hydraulic fracturing is a high-tech and understood well stimulation technique that has been used in over one million wells since it was first used in 1948. The process of hydraulic fracturing is the same today as it was in 1948, except there have been significant improvements in the technology and in the fluids used. In fact, hydraulic fracturing is such a successful well stimulation technique that it is now used in 9 out of 10 oil and gas wells drilled nationwide.
Not only is hydraulic fracturing responsible for the U.S. now having over 100 years of natural gas supplies, it is also proven to be safe. In fact, there has never been a confirmed case of groundwater pollution. This has been emphasized by numerous public officials, including Gina McCarthy, the current administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; Lisa Jackson, the former EPA administrator; and Ernest Moniz, the secretary of energy for the Department of Energy.
See the fact sheet for more information about the implications of the proposed fracking ban in Denton.