Hydraulic fracturing is a safe practice used in natural gas production for over 60 years
Recovery techniques – getting the natural gas out of the groundNatural gas is extracted from under the earth’s surface using a variety recovery methods. The method used depends largely on the geology of the region. While each province has its own regulations on resource development, all jurisdictions have laws that manage environmental impacts, protect freshwater aquifers, to ensure safe and responsible development.
Vertical drilling – Drilling rigs drill wells vertically directly into the porous rock formations that hold the natural gas.
Horizontal drilling – Horizontal drilling uses flexible drilling pipe that can to turn a vertical well onto a horizontal plane to extend the well hundreds of metres into the formation to allow more natural gas to be extracted.
Hydraulic fracturing – Hydraulic fracturing combines vertical and horizontal drilling. When the vertical well reaches a depth between 2,000 to 5,000 metres, the flexible drilling pipe turns horizontal and extends hundreds of metres horizontally. The wellbore casing is then perforated to a way for the trapped natural gas to flow. A mixture of primarily water and sand is pumped down the well at high pressure. The pressure cracks or fractures the surrounding rock. When the pressure is relieved, the water flows back to the well leaving the sand to prop open the rocks cracks allowing the natural gas to escape through the perforated casing and flow to the well where it is recovered and shipped by pipeline to market. Recent innovations using multiple stages in hydraulic fracturing have provided an economical way to access unconventional natural gas reservoirs. Hydraulic fracturing has been safely used in natural gas production for over 60 years.