Infrastructure to support unconventional oil and gas development has increased substantially in the past decade. Major fracking infrastructure includes:
Machine that raises the pressure of gas by drawing in low pressure gas and discharging it at significantly higher pressures. These facilities enable natural gas to flow through 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.
“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. For more information on the function of these infrastructure, see FracTracker’s Oil & Gas 101 guides: https://www.fractracker.org/resources/oil-and-gas-101/
FracTracker Articles & Maps – Fracking Infrastructure
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]