A few days is all it takes to unlock decades of energy production from an oil or natural gas well. How the process happens goes back to the days of Bob Hope, Bing Crosby and Humphrey Bogart. We’re talking about hydraulic fracturing – known as fracking.

Without hydraulic fracturing, as much as 80 percent of oil and natural gas production from new energy sources such as shale would be impossible to produce.

Download WPX’s Hydraulic Fracturing Fact Sheet here.

Download fact sheets on the History of Fracking and Safety.

Download a fact sheet on Fracking and Seismic Activity.

Late 1940s

Hydraulic fracturing is used for the first time to extract natural gas. Commercial use of the modern-patented “Hydrafrac” process begins.

Mid 1950s

About 3,000 wells a month are being hydraulically fractured.

Early 1990s

Horizontal drilling techniques are successfully combined with hydraulic fracturing, making it possible to access vast supplies of oil and natural gas that were once thought to be unreachable.


Fracking’s new golden age begins, as oil and gas producers start to explore the nation’s massive shale formations in earnest.


Since the late 1940s, hydraulic fracturing has been used in more than 1 million U.S. wells to produce more than 600 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and 7 billion barrels of oil.

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