Comprehensive Report on Hydraulic Fracturing to National Security Forum

Dr. Bert Fisher presented a comprehensive report on Hydraulic Fracturing to the National Security Forum at the Ramada in Reno, Nevada, on June 14, 2014. Below is a summary of that presentation (slides from presentation available here).

Much has changed since the Arab Oil Embargo of the mid 70’s, and the low point of domestic oil and gas production of 2005. Dr. Fisher told the audience that crude oil and natural gas reserves and production in the United States, have increased markedly while imports have decreased.  North America--the U.S, Canada and Mexico--are rapidly becoming the world’s leading producers of oil and gas.  By 2020, North America will be energy independent.  The U.S. is poised to overtake both Russia and Saudi Arabia as the world’s top petroleum producer this year, and already is the #1 natural gas producer, having just surpassed Russia.

This is due to the advent of horizontal boring/drilling and the increasing use of, and constant improvement to, an extraction technique known as “Hydraulic Fracturing”. Fracking, which has been in use for more than 70 years, is a mining technique in which a liquid (in most cases, water) is mixed with sand and chemicals, and the resultant mixture is injected at high pressure into a well. This creates small fractures in deep rock formations along which gas and petroleum can migrate to the well.  Dr. Fisher described the state-of-the-art process of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing.

Dr. Fisher showed how the industry has minimized potential environmental concerns by improvements to exploration, drilling, including well-head security and casing integrity, and transportation of product.

Dr. Fisher reported that the increases are good news for American energy independence, oil field and associated infrastructure security and our balance of payment deficits. This revolution in technology has permitted the U.S. to convert planned LNG import terminals into export terminals. The same could be true for oil except that there has been a 40-year ban on U.S. oil exports (designed to keep gasoline prices down).

Dr. Fisher gave a brief history of oil production in Nevada, and the potential for giant increases in our state’s oil production with the development of oil and gas leases in northern and north central Nevada.

See Dr. Fisher’s PowerPoint presentation (slides) here.