Tuesday, June 22, 2010, 6/22/2010 12:19:00 PM

Big Fracking Fight: The Trade Secrets of Hydraulic Fracturing of Rock to Obtain Natural Gas

By Todd

Seems to be a lot of talk about natural gas as an energy substitute for crude oil these days. We at the Womble Trade Secrets Blog had no idea how one captures natural gas. Do you drill a well? Well, no you don't. You frack for it.

Fracking is another name for hydraulic fracturing of the shale formations that hold the gas. Seems simple enough - you break up the shale formations and you suck the gas out. But there's different ways to do this and they involve pumping stuff into the ground. Environmentalists and community groups want to know what they're fracking with.

The article we linked from The New York Times (just click on the title, folks) tells the story about what the fracking companies are disclosing and to whom. This is becoming a recurring story in the trade secrets world - private companies hired to work on public land and using techniques and chemicals that give public health people and environmentalists pause. We'll keep an eye on this one for you.


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