Skip to content
Subscriber Only

Like Fracking? You'll Love 'Super Fracking'

Oil service companies roll out new technologies to break up more earth more cheaply

Few energy industry practices have sparked more controversy than hydraulic fracking. First, wells are drilled horizontally below the surface, allowing a single bore or pathway to reach vertical pockets of oil and natural gas trapped between formations of shale and other rock. Then high-pressure jets of water, sand, and chemicals are pumped into the ground to create fissures through the rock so oil can seep out and be retrieved. Regulators, environmentalists, and academics are studying whether the practice can damage the environment.

Undeterred, oil services companies including Baker Hughes and Schlumberger are continuing their quest to devise ways to create longer, deeper cracks in the earth to release more oil and gas. These companies are no longer content to frack—they want to super frack.