Hydraulic Fracturing

Hydraulic fracturing allows us to develop unconventional oil and gas resources safely and economically and recover hydrocarbon deposits once considered unreachable. We drill thousands of feet below freshwater supplies and then turn horizontally into rock formations to recover oil and gas deposits. We use a base fluid of mostly water mixed with sand and small quantities of chemical additives injected at high pressure to create cracks that form narrow pathways within targeted rock formations. The grains of sand keep the pathways open, releasing oil and natural gas to flow into the wellbore.

We continually test new technologies that reduce our environmental exposure and risk. We use dissolvable plugs or dissolvable ball and sleeve completion systems during hydraulic fracturing for intra-stage isolation, reducing the need to drill out or remove the plugs or balls. Instead, they dissolve with time in the downhole environment. Using dissolvable technology increases the safety of our employees by reducing the number of well clean-outs in high-pressure conditions.

At the end of 2015, 40 of 50 wells in our Rockies assets were hydraulically fractured using dissolvable technology. In 2016, 100% of our wells will be utilizing dissolvable technology in North Dakota and Utah. We also plan to utilize dissolvable plugs on many of our wells in the Mid-Continent where feasible based on the downhole environment.   


Chemical Disclosure


Fracturing fluids are comprised of approximately 98 percent water and sand and about two percent chemical additives, many of which are used in common household products.

Acid - used in swimming pools

Anti-bacterial agent - used in disinfectants

Breaker - used in hair color

Clay stabilizer - used in IV fluids

Corrosion inhibitor - used in plastics

Crosslinker - used in laundry detergents

Friction reducer - used in cosmetics

Gelling agent - used in toothpaste

Iron control - used in food additives

pH adjusting agent - used in water softeners

Scale inhibitor - used in household cleaners

Surfactant - used in deodorant

Source: Ground Water Protection Council (GWPC)