The fracking technology currently used was invented in 1998
Don't be fooled by the gas industry spin
that "fracking has been done safely for decades". This massive world-wide 'gas
rush' is happening because George Mitchell figured out how to do it economically
George Mitchell is known as the
"Father of Fracking" due to his 1998 invention (just over 15 years
ago) where he combined the old and uneconomical hydraulic
fracturing, with 'slickwater' and with 'horizontal drilling' ...
those 3 technologies combined made the process economical and thus
fuelled the current world-wide boom in fracking
The father of fracking (The Economist)
The industry can no longer simply focus on the benefits of shale gas
Shale Gas Revolution (NY Times)
Yes, hydraulic fracturing or fracking by
pumping water down a well was done since 1947 - but it was uneconomical and was
"In 1998, with Mr Mitchell approaching his
80s, his team hit on the idea of substituting water for gunky drilling fluids.
This drastically cut the cost of drilling and turned the Barnett Shale into a
From the 1970s America’s energy industry reconciled itself to apparently
Analysts produced charts to show that its oil and gas were
running out. The big oil firms globalised in order to survive.
But Mr Mitchell was convinced that immense
reserves trapped in shale rock deep beneath the surface could be freed.
He did not discover shale gas and
oil: geological surveys had revealed them decades before he started. He did not
even invent fracking: it had been in use since the 1940s. But few great
entrepreneurs invent something entirely new.
He spent decades perfecting techniques for
unlocking them: injecting high-pressure fluids into the ground to fracture the
rock and create pathways for the trapped oil and gas (fracking) and drilling
down and then sideways to increase each well’s yield (horizontal drilling).
"In 1998, with Mr Mitchell
approaching his 80s, his team hit on the idea of substituting water for gunky
drilling fluids. This drastically cut the cost of drilling and turned the
Barnett Shale into a gold mine".
George Mitchell fused two technologies - hydraulic fracturing and
horizontal drilling and added a cocktail of chemicals to the
fracking process which made the process economical.
The result was a revolution. In an interview with The
Economist last year Mr Mitchell said he never had any doubt that fracking
might turn the American energy market upside down.
But even he was surprised by the speed of
Shale beds now produce more than a quarter
of America’s natural gas, compared with just 1% in 2000.
Q. "Are the concerns
of environmentalists over fracking justified?
"As a concerned businessman and
philanthropist, I have come to understand that the natural gas industry can no
longer simply focus on the benefits of shale gas while failing to address its
"We know that there are significant impacts
on air quality, water consumption, water contamination, and local communities."
Shale Gas Revolution
November 3, 2011
NYTimes - A few years ago, a business genius named George P. Mitchell helped
offer such a gift. As Daniel Yergin writes in “The Quest,” his gripping history
of energy innovation, Mitchell fought through waves of skepticism and opposition
to extract natural gas from shale.
The method he and his team used to release the trapped gas, called fracking, has
paid off in the most immense way.
In 2000, shale gas represented just 1 percent
of American natural gas supplies.
Today, it is 30 percent and rising.