By Teresa Welsh |
It's not as easy as Jed Clampett made it look in the American sitcom The Beverly Hillbillies. And it hasn't been for some 60 years. American oil companies have been using hydraulic fracturing to gain access to deeper and deeper oil and gas reserves since the 1940s.
Today, all of the shallower reserves have been exploited, but the United States still has a wealth of reserves trapped in layers of shale rock. In fact, this country has enough natural gas to power itself for the next 200 years. We can access those reserves through hydraulic fracturing or "fracking."
Critics of fracking have pointed to concerns about groundwater pollution. Before you buy the sometimes sensational (and unproven) claims, let me give you a few fracking facts:
As in any human endeavor, there are varying levels of compliance with safety regulations and human error can occur. I believe that strict compliance to current regulations is sufficient to protect the aquifer while allowing American companies to tap into rich U.S. reserves and free the nation from its dependence on foreign sources of energy. Simply put, without deep horizontal drilling combined with multi-stage hydraulic fracking, the U.S. oil and gas industry cannot survive.
About Chris Faulkner Founder, President, and CEO of Breitling Oil and Gas
Jon Olson Associate Professor in the Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering Department at the University of Texas at Austin
Daniel Simmons Director of State Affairs at the Institute for Energy Research
Lee Fuller Vice President of Government Relations for the Independent Petroleum Association of America