Hydraulic fracturing which is also called fracking, fracing, and hydro-fracking has become the preferred method to unlock valuable hydrocarbons from tight underground rock formations. It requires between 5-10 acres of space at the well location, as well as multiple water tanks and/or storage ponds, along with millions of gallons of water, millions of pounds of sand and, perhaps what makes this process the most controversial, additives in the form of chemicals that help to make the process more efficient and effective.
The fracturing technique that is most used today was developed in the 1990′s and has lowered completion costs by more than 75%. The two primary ingredients used for this process are water and sand. If you have ever had a rock hit your windshield, the spider webbing that it causes across your windshield is an acceptable comparison to what an underground fracture looks like. The spidering effect is similar to what happens within the shale rock formation during the process.
If you are selling mineral rights you may be worried about fracking contaminants or chemicals due to misinformation. The primary concern revolves around whether or not this process taints freshwater sources used for human consumption. However, at this point, fracking is the only method that can be used to economically extract hydrocarbons from tight, low-permeability shale formations until a safer or more efficient way is developed.
While there is no oil & gas production in the state, Vermont, along with France and Bulgaria have entirely banned the practice. In addition, New York and Quebec have placed moratoriums on fracking until further study can be completed.
Regardless of your stance on the practice or whether you have mineral rights for sale, it cannot be denied that domestic production of oil and natural gas has dramatically increased since the beginning of the new century. This is a direct result of the combination of hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling. Due to increasing public pressure, the fracking process will likely become even more streamlined through improved technology and better additives.
The numbers show that production of U.S. Oil surpassed seven million barrels per day at the end of 2012. This was the first time this occurred since 1993. This further reduces the demand for foreign oil and gas. In addition, natural gas is an excellent alternative fuel due to its clean burning properties and the copious amounts that can be found within US shale reservoirs.
When it comes to mineral rights, landowners do not have much say over how a well is completed. That aspect has historically been left to the states and it will likely remain so for the near future. There are, however, a few things landowners should consider including if a well can be drilled on or near the property and if a lease has been signed, what it allows for. Additionally, you need to find out if the lease allows the oil company to access and use fresh water sources as most do.