March 2016, Vol. 243, No. 3

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Hydraulic Fracturing Accounts for About Half of Current U.S. Crude Oil Production

Even though hydraulic fracturing has been in use for more than six decades, it has only recently been used to produce a significant portion of crude oil in the United States. This technique, often used in combination with horizontal drilling, has allowed the United States to increase its oil production faster than at any time in its history. Based on the most recent available data from states, EIA estimates that oil production from hydraulically fractured wells now makes up about half of total U.S. crude oil production. Hydraulic fracturing involves forcing a liquid (primarily water) under high pressure from a wellbore against a rock formation until it fractures. The fracture lengthens as t

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