Hydraulic fracturing—or fracking—is a safe and proven method that uses innovative technology to unlock previously unreachable supplies of natural gas and oil.

Fracking has revolutionized America’s energy development. Because of fracking, our country can reach vast reserves of natural gas that are enabling us to provide plentiful clean energy, lower greenhouse gas emissions, and become a worldwide leader in natural gas production.

How does fracking work? Get the key facts.

Did you know?

  • Fracking is highly regulated. Local, state, and federal rules and regulations govern all aspects of fracking, including: well permitting, well materials and construction, air emissions, flowback and produced water disposal, storm water management, and chemical record keeping and reporting.
  • Fracking provides environmental benefits. Because of innovative hydraulic fracturing, we can access larger amounts of clean-burning natural gas. This has been a major contributor in reducing U.S. carbon emissions to their lowest levels in 25 years.
  • Fracking has been used commercially for more than 60 years. Since the late 1940s, more than two million wells have been fractured worldwide. Now combined with the innovative technology of horizontal drilling, up to 95 percent of new wells drilled in the U.S. today are hydraulically fractured.
  • Fracking is not a method for drilling or constructing a well. It is a completion technique that occurs after a well is safely drilled and cased. Using water pressure, it creates fissures in deep underground shale formations, allowing trapped oil and natural gas to flow. Fracking generally occurs over a three- to five-day period.

Want to learn more? Read ConocoPhillips' Focus on Hydraulic Fracturing.


An award-winning study finds there is no groundwater contamination from fracking. Read this recent report on the University of Cincinnati's findings from a multi-year Utica Shale study.

Check this out: New Colorado study finds that air quality is not affected by fracking. Check it out here.

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We have been hydraulically fracturing, or fracking, wells to produce natural gas and crude oil for decades.

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