It’s probably fair to say that most Americans don’t have too detailed a sense of what it means to drill for oil or natural gas. Sure, people understand that a large drill bores down into the earth, then pipes carry the oil or gas up from the well that was drilled.
But there’s more to it than that. A lot more. That is particularly the case when it comes to hydraulic fracturing. Fracking is much in the news these days, in part because of a comprehensive government study released this month that backs up industry’s claims about the safety of shale oil and gas drilling.
To get a better sense of what it means to drill and frack a well, one should study a very simple graphic in a recent report from the consultancy IHS Energy.
IHS looked at a typical well in North Dakota’s Bakken formation. Its graphic gives a sense of everything that is required to coax oil and gas resources from deep below the surface.
Such graphics are helpful because they increase energy literacy.
Everyone from the president and Congress to critics of our industry are discussing the implications of America’s energy revolution. And they should be. A deeper (and more accurate) understanding can help our public discourse, our public decision making, and our economic future.
So, feel free to download the graphic and send it to friends and others you think might benefit from a more complete knowledge of how America’s energy is produced.