The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Hot Dogs, BBQs...and Fracking

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted July 3, 2012

Kudos to Fuel for cooking up a link between hot dogs and fracking in time for the Fourth of July – making the point that chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing are all around our daily lives, in some of the things we eat and other products that make our lives better.

Take the hot dog. Fuel Fix points out that the staple at cookouts, ballparks and fireworks displays often contains something called sodium erythorbate for fast curing and retention of the hot dog’s distinctive pink color. In fracking, it helps prevent precipitation of metal oxides, improving the process.

Going to a barbecue? Many BBQ sauces contain guar gum, derived from (you guessed it) the guar bean. In hydraulic fracturing, guar gum thickens the water in the fracking fluid, better suspending the sand that keeps tiny cracks in rocks open so oil or natural gas can be recovered.

It’s true: Not all of the stuff that goes into fracking fluid can be ingested by humans, yet these substances are found in things people use all the time. Check out Fuel Fix’s neat slideshow for a different way of looking at a drilling process that’s revolutionizing this country’s energy production.

Final point: The typical fracturing fluid is made up of 99.5 percent water and sand. Just half of 1 percent is chemical ingredients. See for more information on fluid composition and other aspects of the hydraulic fracturing process, as well as the Energy From Shale website – and Happy Independence Day!


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.