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Drillers Take Second Crack at Fracking Old Wells to Cut Cost

A fracking rig in Pennsylvania.

A fracking rig in Pennsylvania.

Photographer: Ty Wright/Bloomberg

Beset by falling prices, the oil industry is looking at about 50,000 existing wells in the U.S. that may be candidates for a second wave of fracking, using techniques that didn’t exist when they were first drilled.

New wells can cost as much as $8 million, while re-fracking costs about $2 million, significant savings when the price of crude is hovering close to $50 a barrel, according to Halliburton Co., the world’s biggest provider of hydraulic fracturing services.