Hydraulic Fracturing -- It's not just for gas.
Much of the news about hydraulic fracturing has concerned its use to produce natural gas from such shale plays as the Barnett, Haynesville, Fayetteville, and Marcellus. But some shale formations contain oil, and hydraulic fracturing is playing a key role in producing oil from some of those shales, including the Bakken in North Dakota and Montana, and the Eagle Ford in south Texas. Now, Amy Wold of The Advocate reports that Devon Energy is pursuing plans to use hydraulic fracturing to produce oil from the Tuscaloosa Marine Shale in East Feliciana Parish, not far from Baton Rouge. A 1997 LSU study estimated that there are 7 billion barrels of oil in the shale, and Jim Welsh, Commissioner of the Louisiana Office of Conservation, is quoted as stating, "This will be Louisiana's Eagle Ford." The use of hydraulic fracturing in shale formations already has helped the U.S. significantly increase its production of natural gas. Now, hydraulic fracturing is starting to do the same for oil production.