Explainer: What is fracking?

Energy companies have found new use for hydraulic fracturing to extract natural gas from shale rock

By Erica Gies, 12:12 PM August 21, 2013

Fracking is a three-step process. Gas companies first drill a well, then frack it, then harvest the gas, says David Blackmon, who works for a gas company in Houston called El Paso Corp.

 

First, the company builds a drill pad of about 24,000 square meters (about 258,000 square feet) in size. In order to create a clean surface from which to work, “We have to level off the ground and pave it with white, chalky caliche [kuh-lee-chee] rock,” Blackmon explains.

 

Then the company brings in a large str...

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