Oil and gas investors are no doubt already familiar with the vocabulary of unconventional reserves. Aside from the buzzwords like “shale”, and of course “fracking”, there are more specific terms, ones that are less catchy but slightly more valuable from a descriptive standpoint, and it can’t hurt to be current with this new lingo.
Take the latter example, for instance. “Fracking”, otherwise known as hydraulic fracturing, is the process by which producers break open low-permeability shale formations deep underneath the Earth’s crust to unlock what is hopefully large quantities of liquid natural gas and crude oil.
In reality, fracking is only part of the equation, and indeed has become somewhat of a catch-all term to describe the whole of the activity involved in bringing oil and gas to the surface from unconventional plays.
Directional or horizontal drilling is also an essential part of the process, though the terms are slowly but surely becoming more widely used and understood. While fracturing refers specifically to the process of blowing open shale rock with the help of a special mixture of chemicals, directional drilling is basically the process by which the pipes are brought to the shale formation in the first place.
The following handful of videos give useful visual explanations of how this works, and with the added benefit of doing so with the accompaniment of some funky beats.