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OWLS™ Water Education: Animated Fracking -Slickwater Fracking.

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This is the technological breakthrough that’s making people wildly bullish on America

Written by Rob Wile @ Business Insider/ Follow Rob Wile on Twitter.* Copyright © 2012 Business Insider, Inc.

This weekend, we told the story of three bears who are all bullish on America for one reason: Domestic oil and natural gas. In particular, Hugh Hendry fund manager for Scottish group Eclectica Asset Management, cited “the momentous nature of recent advances in shale oil and gas extraction.”

So what are these great breakthroughs?

As it turns out, the three great advances in shale resource extraction occurred more than a decade ago, according to Dan Steward, a geologist with Republic Energy and a former Vice President of Mitchell Energy.

The first was horizontal well drilling, which infinitely expanded the potential uses of fracking (which has actually been around since the 1949*). Here’s an animation showing exactly what that looks like:

The first commercially viable horizontal drills had already been executed in the 1980s.

But it was not until the late ’90s that mapping technology was created that could determine where fracking would prove most successful.

Microseismic technology (which were originally used to detect seismic activity around mines) involves lowering detectors into a listening well near a fracked well.

Once the well has been drilled, the seismic devices pick up the noise of where the rocks are breaking, and triangulates the sounds to map out the rest of the play.

Here’s an equally nifty animation that demonstrates microseismic mapping.

The final development was the advent of slickwater fracking, the technique now known for being so cheap, yet so controversial.

Slickwater fracks involve adding chemicals known as “friction reducers” to water to allow for more efficient gas extraction.According to Halliburton and Forest Oil Corp, slickwater fracks allow fluid to be pumped down the well-bore as fast as 100 barrels per minute. Without using slickwater the top speed of pumping is around 60 bbl/min. It also enables extraction in highly pressurized, deeper shales.<.p>

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