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Drilling Process

After drilling vertically, monitoring devices above ground will indicate a “kick off point.” This is where the drilling will turn horizontal because the wellbore has reached the shale, which can be hundreds of feet thick.

There may be some natural fractures present in the shale to access the gas into the wellbore but more than likely the wellbore will be subdivided into several sections, each 3,000 feet to 5,000 feet. There can be as many as 10 separate sections in the wellbore.

“At this point, the shale needs to be ‘stimulated’ to release the gas,” says Duda. “The segments will first be lined with metal casings before the well is hydraulically fractured with the liquid.”

Photo: Mladen Antonov | AFP | Getty Images