23 Fracking Statistics Everyone Should Know in 2020

Fracking is bad for your health. This shouldn’t come as a surprise for anyone who’s been following the latest fracking statistics

That being said: 

It’s not a topic most people understand correctly. Crude oil deposits all over the world are running out, forcing oil companies to prospect for fossil fuel out of shale and other places with lower energy density. 

However: 

The introduction of fracking revolutionized the industry. Hydraulic fracturing, known as fracking, is one of the most effective ways of retrieving natural gas and oil out of shale. But the process comes at a price, as shown by facts about fracking

The thing is:

Environmental and safety concerns are at the top of the list. But to understand the impact that fracking has, we need to look at the numbers.

Before we launch into the stats, here are some stats to get you started. 

Fascinating Fracking Facts (Editor’s Choice)

  • Only a few people in the fracking industry know what the ingredients of a “fracking cocktail” are. They contend that the formulas are trade secrets.
  • The cocktails contain carcinogens and highly hazardous pollutants. 
  • Fracking is the most dominant technique for oil and gas extraction in the United States.
  • Not counting the related supporting jobs, fracking created 725,000 jobs in the United States between 2005 and 2012. 
  • It takes 3 to 5 million gallons of water for the process to happen. 
  • Out of the 3 to 5 million gallons, 99.5% is water.
  • Fracking started in 1947.
  • Proponents say that if it weren’t for the fracking boom, electricity would cost 31% more and motor fuels would be priced 43% higher than their current level.

Let’s dive into the stats to get straight the fracking facts and myths.

Fracking in the US

A large portion of the United States economy is driven by fracking. It is easy to criticize the industry, seeing as there are many facts about the harm of fracking

1. The US natural gas industry is the world’s fifth-largest, fracking stats show.

Source: Statista

In 2018, the US produced 832 billion cubic meters of natural gas. It also has the world’s ninth-largest oil reserves. In addition to all this, it is the world’s largest oil-consuming nation. The need for oil in the US outweighs just about everything else. Which is why people argue that…

2. Fracking drives the US economy.

Source: Global Energy Institute- U.S. Chamber of Commerce 

The hard facts about fracking show that the US could lose 45% of all domestic natural gas production and 17% of oil production within 5 years if fracking were stopped. In 2012 alone, developments of oil and natural gas resources supported more than 2.1 million jobs. The number was projected to rise to 3.5 million by 2035. What’s more…

3. 400,000 extra jobs would be created.

Source: American Chemistry Council

According to the American Chemistry Council, a 25% increase in the supply of ethane (the liquid we get from shale gas) would result in the creation of these jobs and over $4 billion in extra revenues annually. Fracking statistics show that jobs would be on the line if something upset the industry. 

4. A million workers for manufacturing.

Source: Resources Mag

Aside from all the jobs mentioned above, the National Association of Manufacturers estimated that the high volume of shale gas and lowered natural gas prices resulting from fracking would allow US manufacturers to employ up to 1,000,000 workers by 2025. Some estimates, however, place this number lower than a million. 

Old Tech, New Impacts, Uncertain Future

Fracking is by no means anything new. Learning the damage that it causes in the long term is our only hope of convincing people about the validity of fracking pollution statistics. Statistics on fracking shed light on the way the industry has operated. 

5. Fracking started in the late 1940s.

Source: State of The Planet

It might seem like new tech, but it’s not. Fracking started sometime after the Second World War. More than 1.2 million wells have been completed through hydraulic fracking. The technology only got a boom after some advances were made. President Obama’s policy to reduce emissions from power plants led to a spike in the natural gas industry. 

6. 59% of total oil production In America in 2018 came from hydraulic fracking.

Source: The U.S. Energy Information Administration

According to the fracking statistics by the administration, the production was 6.44 million barrels of crude oil in a day. By 2015, the fracking operations in America produced 53 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day. The gas accounts for more than two-thirds of domestically produced gas.

7. By 2015, there were more than 300,000 wells using fracking.

Source: Aardvark Packers

Twenty years ago, there were just a little over 270,000 natural gas wells in the United States. Of these, only 26,000 used hydraulic fracturing.  That’s a dramatic increase, more than the total number of wells at the turn of the millennium. The fracking stats show that the market has grown. But how big is it?

More Money Every Year

The GDP, the fracking market, and the global reserves of gas are expected to rise meteorically fast. The multi-billion-dollar market that adds to the national revenue while creating jobs may have its critics. However, it continues to grow despite the fracking water pollution statistics. 

8. Fracking will be a $68 billion market by 2024.

Source: Market Watch 

Natural gas extraction is going to be the biggest reason why fracking expands to many parts of the world. With the natural gas market expected to increase from a global market value of almost $40 billion to well over $50 billion in this time, the growth is guaranteed. A 2016 study by the US Chamber of Commerce sheds light on the value of fracking. 

9. Fracking added $548 billion to the total US GDP.

Source: Aardvark Packers

This is one of the most impressive stats you’re likely to come across. Proponents say that if it weren’t for the fracking boom, electricity would cost 31% more, and motor fuels would be priced 43% higher than their current level. 

Scary stuff, right?

10. Out of the 3 to 5 million gallons of liquid required for the process, 99.5% is water.

Source: Environment America

Well, the other 0.5% of the liquid is made up of chemicals whose portions and designs are not available to the public. To start us off, think about 5 billion pounds of hydrochloric acid. 

Human Health and the Climate

The fracking contamination statistics say it all. Water sources are polluted, people inhale and ingest chemicals unknowingly, and nature is severely disrupted. Yet, the EPA seems to be doing everything to further fracking interests. The impact brings untold harm to many citizens of the United States.  

11. 1.2 billion pounds of petroleum distillates.

Source: Environment America

Yes, that’s right. The FracFocus database reveals that oil and gas wells fracking across the U.S. used a lot of chemicals between 2005 and 2015. Fracking contamination statistics show that the distillates are known for causing throat, lung and eye irritations, dizziness, and nausea and have carcinogens and toxic agents in them. 

12. Fracking used 445 million pounds of methanol, suspected of causing congenital disabilities.

Source: Environment America

Other chemicals are also included, the composition of which we do not know due to laws protecting proprietary information. People living near the fracking sites can be exposed when the chemicals enter water supplies. 

13. There are almost 1000 chemicals in fracking water.

Source: Yale School of Public Health

According to a study by the Yale School of Public Health, 157 chemicals used in fracking solutions are toxic. The other 781 chemicals’ toxicity levels are unknown. The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory reported that 10% of fracking chemicals are known to be toxic to both aquatic and human life. 

Ever heard of wastewater?

14. 15+ billion gallons of wastewater are produced by fracking annually.

Source: Think Progress

The EPA has consistently stuck to antiquated and weak regulations that do not stop the dumping of such water into irrigation projects, on roads, and sprayed into the air. In Pennsylvania alone, fracking water contamination statistics show over 260 instances of private water wells contaminated by fracking since 2005. That number is thought to be a gross underestimate. 

Fracking is Bad for the Environment

It is not uncommon to fund multiple studies with deep flaws in things like how much pollution occurs. Facts about earthquakes caused by fracking are also downplayed to allay fears that people may have about the disturbing fracking statistics that keep pointing at the dangers. Water shortages and lies inundate the industry. 

15. Natural gas is 80% methane, which traps heat 86 times more effectively than C02 over only two decades.

Source: Greenpeace

In 2014 alone, fracked wells released 2.4 million metric tons of methane. Facts about fracking and energy show that it is equivalent to the annual greenhouse gas emissions of nearly two dozen coal-fired power production plants. 

16. Environmental impact studies into fracking are flawed.

Source: Scientific American 

Let’s take off our tinfoil hats and look at this from a scientific angle. Over 400 tanker trucks have to carry water and supplies to a fracking site. 

What’s more: 

It takes about 8 million gallons of water to complete just one well. One well can be fracked up to 18 times, and each time will require just as much water. In addition, fracking may require 360 billion gallons of chemicals for maintenance. 

17. Farmers in drought areas robbed of water.

Source: The New York Times

Alright, let’s calm down. In a water auction in Colorado in 2012, the area was mainly dry that year and water was needed to aid in farming. However, oil and gas companies paid up to $3,300 per acre-foot of water. That was 100 times more than what farmers paid. Just another of the bizarre facts about fracking that will blow your mind. 

Destroy in the Name of Good

Proponents of fracking say that the gas burns cleaner than other fossil fuels. True. However, the process that goes into getting it out of the ground does more damage than anyone can repair. Who pays for that? Apparently, the answer is not “the companies that caused the damage.” Hydraulic fracking facts can be plain brutal at times. 

18. The mule deer population Wyoming Pinedale Mesa declined by 40% from 2001 to 2015.

Source: Research Gate

Since 2005, over 700,000 acres of land have been destroyed to make way for infrastructure that supports fracking. That is an area larger than Yosemite National Park. 

19. Fracking causes earthquakes.

Source: Science Daily

Well, it’s the truth, ladies and gentlemen. In 2014 alone, residents of Central and Eastern US felt 659 earthquakes. That is way more than the average of 21 per year from 1973 to 2008. The spike in earthquake instances is directly linked to the increased fracking activity in the area. Alright, you seem to have had enough of the dark side of fracking. How about some more agreeable numbers, eh…!

20. Two-thirds of natural gas is used to make chemicals, fertilizer, and pharmaceuticals.

Source: Consumer Gas Cooperative

The benefits of fracking facts show that the rest is used in heating and cooling. The US is now less dependent on the Middle East for energy. Energy security is a favorable condition that America would like to improve.

Some Benefits

Let’s look at some positive fracking pollution statistics

21. Over the next quarter of a century, shale gas production could generate around $933 billion in tax revenues for local, state, and federal governments. 

Source: IHS

Local economies are booming. According to IHS Markit, they get jobs, royalties paid to landowners, and tax revenues. So it’s not all doom and gloom.

22. Fracking could protect the climate.

Source: Consumer Gas Cooperative

Because it burns cleaner than other fossil fuels, fracking has the potential to be safer and better. However, as with all non-renewable sources of energy, the science behind these claims is controversial. Not to say there are no good stats for fracking, but the public does not understand the risks well.  

23. 20-40% of fluid used flows back to the surface.

Source: National Geographic 

Chemicals and dissolved solids are present, fracking facts reveal. The water is also slightly irradiated from interacting with radioactive materials that are usually buried deep in the earth. Sometimes, when the wells are dug too shallow or not appropriately inspected, 1.5% of the gas found will leak. The leaks are linked to climate change and an increase of methane in the air. 

In Conclusion

People who live close to fracking operations feel their effects in the form of small earthquakes and drink polluted water. The latest fracking statistics show an incredibly controversial industry.

Bottom line: 

Until we implement a policy to change the status quo and eliminate our over-reliance on finite fossil fuels, the environment will suffer. 

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