The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Fracturing Fluid Breakdown

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted November 2, 2011

Let's play multiple choice. In the typical fluid mix used to produce natural gas from shale during hydraulic fracturing, the percentage of water/sand/chemicals is:

A) 70 percent water, 20 percent sand, 10 percent chemicals.

B) 80 percent water, 15 percent sand, 5 percent chemicals.

C) 90 percent water, 9.5 percent sand, 0.5 percent chemicals.

The answer is ... "C." Surprised? Lots of folks are, given the number of inaccuracies about hydraulic fracturing that are circulating. Fracturing fluid is 99.5 percent water and sand - the sand being used to prop open tiny fissures in the shale to release the natural gas. Only one-half of 1 percent of the mix is chemicals.

Ready for another surprise? Chemicals in the typical fracking mix (the 0.5 percent) are additives found in common household items such as cosmetics, table salt - even ice cream.

Below is an informational graphic that puts it all in perspective. Click here for more information on energy from shale.



Mark Green joined API after a career in newspaper journalism, including 16 years as national editorial writer for The Oklahoman in the paper’s Washington bureau. Mark also was a reporter, copy editor and sports editor. He earned his journalism degree from the University of Oklahoma and master’s in journalism and public affairs from American University. He and his wife Pamela live in Occoquan, Va., where they enjoy their four grandchildren.