Hydraulic Fracturing Fluids

Breakdown of Hydraulic Fracturing Fluids

Hydraulic fracturing fluids are comprised of a combination of water, sand and chemicals that are injected at high pressure into a well to initiate and to expand fractures in the shale rock.

Water makes up approximately 90% and sand approximately 9.5% of the fluid; and chemicals the remaining .5% of the mixture.  The chemicals are used for various purposes, such as increasing the viscosity of the fluid; minimizing corrosion, or “propping” open fractures created by the fracturing process. 

For more:

  • Energy in Depth: "Greater than 99 percent of the fluid is composed of water and sand, and the small fraction of what remains includes many common industrial and even household materials that millions of American consumers use every day. By both weight and volume, the most prominent of these materials is a substance known as “guar.” Sounds scary, right? It’s actually an emulsifying agent more typically found in ice cream."
  • FracFocus:  "The number of chemical additives used in a typical fracture treatment depends on the conditions of the specific well being fractured. A typical fracture treatment will use very low concentrations of between 3 and 12 additive chemicals, depending on the characteristics of the water and the shale formation being fractured."