Hydraulic fracturing was first developed in the 1940s and, in recent years, has helped make oil and natural gas from shale and tight rock the fastest-growing sources of energy in the United States. Natural gas from shale is expected to increase from approximately 35 percent of total domestic gas production currently to over 60 percent by 2040.1 The high levels of domestic production enabled by hydraulic fracturing helped cut net imports of crude oil to the United States by 30 percent from 2005 to 20152 and lower energy prices for American consumers. In 2015, gasoline prices reached their lowest point in nearly seven years3 and household heating costs declined thanks, in part, to lower fuel prices.4 Oil and natural gas are used to meet over 60 percent of US energy demand and this is expected to continue through 2040.5 Hydraulic fracturing will play a key role in ensuring that this demand can be met affordably and reliably right here at home.
Chevron is committed to developing shale and tight resources safely and in an environmentally responsible way. Hydraulic fracturing occurs in tight rock formations beneath the earth’s surface — often more than a mile below ground water (a distance as deep as the Grand Canyon). Wells are designed and monitored to protect groundwater. Measures include installing multiple layers of steel and cement, placing microphones deep in the earth to confirm fracture locations, and water management associated with hydraulic fracturing operations. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), hydraulic fracturing activities “have not led to widespread, systemic impacts to drinking water resources.”6 Fracturing a well only takes a few weeks but enables the well to produce for decades. To promote continual safety and innovation, Chevron participates in industry groups to develop guidelines and best practices that promote responsible development by all operators.