Hydraulic Fracturing

Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, has been used for more than sixty years to extract oil and natural gas deposits from tight rock formations that were once too difficult to produce. Hydraulic fracturing is a proven, traditional technology that involves drilling thousands of feet below the earth’s surface and groundwater supplies. Every well is protected with multiple layers of steel and cement casing and then a mixture of pressurized water, sand, and specially designed compounds is pumped into the formation creating tiny fissures in targeted areas of the source rock. These tiny fissures allow oil and natural gas to escape and flow up to the surface. In Colorado, the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) regulates the oil and gas industry and requires that all oil and natural gas producers disclose the chemicals and amount of water used in the process to FracFocus, a free, publicly accessible website.

Governor’s Task Force Rulemaking Fast Facts

On August 4th, 2014, Governor John Hickenlooper announced the formation of an oil and gas development task force, which was established through Executive Order in September 2014. The Task Force was comprised of 21 members representing local government, civic organizations, environmental interests, agriculture, and affected industries. It convened monthly from September 2014 through February 2015. At the final meeting, the Task Force put forth 9 recommendations, 7 of which were approved unanimously. Two of the recommendations, numbers 17 and 20, which were unanimously approved, require a formal rulemaking of the Colorado Oil and Gas Cons ... Read More »

Whitepaper: The Truth About Gasland

On Monday, June 21st, HBO aired “GasLand” a documentary by Josh Fox which discusses the natural gas industry. While Mr. Fox‟s original film was changed after the screenings in response to factual critiques, it is still filled with much misleading information. Natural gas is a clean, abundant, and domestic energy source that has created 2.8 million American jobs and is vital to our nation‟s clean-energy future and economy. Colorado is fifth in the country in natural gas employment by supporting 137,000 Colorado jobs which adds $8.4 billion in labor income and $18.3 billion in annual contribution to the economy. Read More »

Whitepaper: Hydraulic Fracturing

WHAT IS HYDRAULIC FRACTURING?  Hydraulic fracturing is one of the final components of the overall drilling procedure and is used far below ground surface (often more than a mile) to allow the recovery of oil and gas. It is often confused with the entire drilling practice, but it is just one part. This fact sheet explains what hydraulic fracturing is, describes what concerns stakeholders have with the process, provides some technical explanations, and discusses the regulatory framework. Hydraulic fracturing is often referred to as “fracing,” pronounced fracking. WHY DO WE NEED HYDRAULIC FRACTURING?  Hydraulic fracturing is a cri ... Read More »

Fast Facts: Produced Water

Based on a ruling of the Colorado Supreme Court in April 2009, the Colorado State Engineer's Office (SEO) was tasked with regulating coal-bed methane wells under the Colorado Ground Water Management Act and the Water Right Determination and Administration Act. By Colorado law, all groundwater is presumed to be tributary unless proven otherwise. (1) The Produced Nontributary Ground Water Rules were created to identify areas within Colorado where the SEO would regard produced water as nontributary. Read More »

Fast Facts: Cornell Study on Hydraulic Fracturing

A study from Cornell University suggests that natural gas production climate benefits have been vastly overstated, largely due to the method of extraction known as hydraulic fracturing (HF).1 At issue is the amount of methane – a greenhouse gas (GHG) – released in to the atmosphere and whether this amount is significant enough to curtail the benefits of natural gas over other fossil fuels such as coal. Author of the study, Professor Robert Howarth claims: “Compared to coal, the footprint of shale gas is at least 20 percent greater and perhaps more than twice as great on the 20-year horizon.” This has yielded significant skepticism ... Read More »