Fracking Infrastructure

Explore our site’s various articles and maps about the infrastructure impacts and considerations associated with oil and gas development.

    • Compressor Stations –  A machine that raises the pressure of a gas by drawing in low pressure gas and discharging it at significantly higher pressures. These facilities enable natural gas to flow through pipelines.
    • Pipelines- In the United States, there’s an estimated 3 million miles of pipelines transporting crude oil, refined petroleum products, natural gas liquids, and gas from fracking wells and cryogenic facilities to processors & then eventually to consumers. Pipelines include distribution lines that take gas to residents and other consumers, as well as transmission and gathering lines which bring fossil fuels from well sites to processing facilities and distant markets.
    • Wells – “Fracking” wells are drilled thousands of feet into the ground to reach a target oil or gas reservoir. The well then turns horizontally to intersect and remain within the reservoir (e.g. shale layer) for distances that can reach over three miles in length. A mixture of water, sand and chemicals are injected into the well at extremely high pressures, and explode out of the well bore to crack open the shale rock, releasing oil and gas.

Other infrastructure includes Class II wells (which include wastewater disposal wells, enhanced oil recovery wells, and hydrocarbon storage wells), cryogenic facilities, frac sand mines, fractionation facilities, petrochemical facilities, power plants and stations, processing plants, pumping stations, and storage facilities. 

FracTracker Infrastructure Articles

Mapping Gathering Lines in Ohio and West Virginia

As a spring 2020 intern with FracTracker, my work mostly involved mapping gathering lines in West Virginia and Ohio. Gathering lines are pipelines that transport oil and gas from the wellhead to either compressor stations or storage/processing facilities. The transmission pipelines (which are often larger in diameter than gathering lines) take the oil and gas […]

The North Dakota Shale Viewer Reimagined: Mapping the Water and Waste Impact

We updated the FracTracker North Dakota Shale Viewer with current data and additional details on the astronomical levels of water used and waste produced throughout the process of fracking for oil and gas in North Dakota. As folks who visit the FracTracker website may know, the fracking industry is predicated on cheap sources of water […]

Falcon Pipeline Construction Releases over 250,000 Gallons of Drilling Fluid in Pennsylvania and Ohio

Part of the Falcon Public Environmental Impact Assessment – a FracTracker series on the impacts of Falcon Ethane Pipeline System Challenges have plagued Shell’s construction of the Falcon Pipeline System through Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia, according to documents from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  Records […]

Systematic Racism in Kern County Oil and Gas Permitting Ordinance

Kern County, California has approved at least 18,356 illegal permits to drill new and rework existing oil and gas wells since 2015 (data updated May 18, 2020). In a monumental decision in February of 2020, a California court ruled that a Kern County oil and gas ordinance paid for and drafted by the oil industry […]

Fracking Water Use in Pennsylvania Increases Dramatically

Unconventional wells in Pennsylvania were always resource-intensive, but the maps below show how the amount of water used per well has grown significantly in recent years. In 2013, these wells used an average of 5.8 million gallons per well. By 2019, that figure had increased 145%, consuming more than 14.3 million gallons per well. This […]

New Yorkers mount resistance against North Brooklyn Pipeline

By Kim Fraczek (Sane Energy Project), with input and mapping by Karen Edelstein (FracTracker Alliance) Despite overwhelming concern about the impacts of fossil fuels on climate chaos, pipeline projects are springing up all over the country in an effort find markets for the surplus of fracked gas extracted from the Marcellus region in Pennsylvania. New […]

California, Back in Frack

California is once again a fracked state. The moratorium on well stimulations (hydraulic fracturing and acidizing) that lasted since June 26, 2019 has now come to an end. As of April 3rd, 2020, California’s oil and gas regulatory body, California Geological Energy Management Division (CalGEM), approved 24 new permits to frack new wells. The wells […]

California Setback Analyses Summary

FracTracker Alliance has conducted numerous spatial analyses concerning the proximity of oil and gas extraction infrastructure to sensitive receptors, including healthcare centers, locations where children congregate, locations where the elderly congregate, as well sensitive habitat for endangered and threatened wildlife. In this article, we summarize the results of a handful of these analyses that are […]

Air Pollution from Pennsylvania Shale Gas Compressor Stations – REPORT

Air pollution from Pennsylvania shale gas compressor stations is a significant, worsening public health concern. By Cynthia Walter, Ph.D. Dr. Walter is a retired biology professor who has worked on shale gas industry pollution since 2009 through Westmoreland Marcellus Citizens Group, Protect PT and other groups. Contact: walter.atherton@gmail.com Executive Summary Compressor Stations (CS) in the […]

New York State Oil & Gas Wells – 2020 Update

We’ve recently updated the New York State Oil and Gas Well Viewer with data up to 2020. The map and data below show that conventional gas drilling in New York State has decreased significantly since the first decade of 2000, but drilling for oil in western New York has increased in the past few years. […]

National Energy and Petrochemical Map

FracTracker Alliance has released a new national map, filled with energy and petrochemical data. Explore the map, continue reading to learn more, and see how your state measures up!  The items on the map (followed by facility count in parenthesis) include: This map is by no means exhaustive, but is exhausting. It takes a […]

Governor Newsom Must Do More to Address the Cause of Oil Spill Surface Expressions

Chevron and other oil and gas companies in western Kern County have drilled so many oil and gas wells that they have essentially turned this area of California into a block of Swiss cheese. As a result, several of the most over-developed oil fields (in the world!) are suffering from gushing oil seeps known as […]

Oil & Gas Well Permits Issued By Newsom Administration Rival Those Issued Under Gov. Jerry Brown

FracTracker Alliance and Consumer Watchdog worked together to produce a map of all oil and gas permits issued in 2019, under Governor Newsom’s watch. Our previous collaborative reports revealed conflicts of interest within the oil and gas regulatory agency, and showed that the rate of permitting new fracking operations and all oil and gas well […]

Pipelines Continue to Catch Fire and Explode

For the past decade, petroleum operators in the United States have been busy pumping record amounts of oil and gas from the ground. But has the pace been too frenzied? Since the vast majority of the oil and gas is not used in situ, the industry must transport these hydrocarbon products to other locations. The […]

The Hidden Inefficiencies and Environmental Costs of Fracking in Ohio

Ohio continues to increase fracked gas production, facilitated by access to freshwater and lax radioactive waste disposal requirements.  View map fullscreen | How FracTracker maps work Map: Ohio Quarterly Utica Oil and Gas Production along with Quarterly Wastewater Disposal Well Volumes A little under a year ago, FracTracker released a map and associated analysis, […]

Fracking in Pennsylvania: Not Worth It

Despite the ever-increasing heaps of violations and drilling waste, Pennsylvania’s fracked wells continue to produce an excess supply of gas, driving prices down. To cut their losses, the oil and gas industry is turning towards increased exports and petrochemical production. Continuing to expand fracking in Pennsylvania will only increase risks to the public and to […]

Fracking Threatens Ohio’s Captina Creek Watershed

FracTracker’s Great Lakes Program Coordinator Ted Auch explores the risks and damages brought on by fracking in Ohio’s Captina Creek Watershed   The Captina Creek Watershed straddles the counties of Belmont and Monroe in Southeastern Ohio and feeds into the Ohio River. It is the highest quality watershed in all of Ohio and a great […]