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.

Mythbusters: Industry Water Use

Water used for oil and gas operations falls under the jurisdiction of multiple regulations that dictate its acquisition and use. Below are some of the more common myths surrounding water use in oil and gas development, and explanations as to how they are misinformed—and sometimes flat out wrong. Read More »

Fast Facts: Water Use

Water is vital to all life and scarce in the West. Its use and management is critical to our industry stakeholders. The primary use for water in modern oil and gas development is in the drilling and completion phases. During drilling, water is used to cool the drill bit and provide a mechanism to bring drill cuttings to the surface. Water is also used for hydraulic fracturing, which pumps water down the wellbore under high pressure to create hairline fractures to release oil and gas. Read More »

Coalition Letter: Groundwater Sampling and Monitoring Rules

The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) is conducting a rulemaking to evaluate the need for a statewide baseline groundwater testing program. Over the last decade, Colorado has implemented a number of successful basin-specific water testing programs that have built public confidence in industry’s ability to protect groundwater in conjunction with oil and gas drilling operations. Additionally, there is a statewide voluntary groundwater monitoring program that began in January of 2012 in which operators who drill over 93% of the wells drilled in Colorado participate. Read More »

Coalition Letter: Setback Interdependence

Let’s Include Our Community Interdependence with Oil and Gas in the Setback Conversation  Our society is becoming increasingly detached from the things that we consume and those that produce them, even the basics of food, water, shelter, and energy. Our coalition has come together to encourage policies that embrace rather than ignore our interdependence with oil and gas resources. The discussion of oil and gas setbacks is no exception. Read More »

Basics: Colorado Water Supply

Hydraulic fracturing and its impact on Colorado’s water supply is often misunderstood. To fracture an average horizontal well in Colorado, and most other parts of the nation, two to five million gallons of water are needed. Sound like a lot? It isn’t if you put that into perspective with the state’s total usage: It is a drop in the bucket. For example, in 2010 4.53 billion gallons were used for hydraulic fracturing across Colorado. As staggering as that may sound, this figure only represents 0.08% of Colorado’s water use in 2010; not even 1/1000 of total annual use. Read More »