North America


Fracking industry estimates for shale gas reserves in northern British Columbia are 200 trillion cubic feet of gas. EnCana began fracking in BC in the late 1990s. It moved to Alberta in the early 2000s and began using nitrogen, instead of water, to frack shallow coal seams, or what are commonly called coalbed methane.

United States

The first fracking project in the United States was performed in 1947, though the current fracking technique was first used in the late 1990s in the Barnett Shale in Texas.The energy from the injection of a highly-pressurized fracking fluid creates new channels in the rock which can increase the extraction rates and ultimate recovery of fossil fuels. Currently a large natural gas boom is taking place in North Dakota‘s Bakken formation.

According to the International Energy Agency, the global use of natural gas will rise by more than 50% compared to 2010 levels, and account for over 25% of world energy demand in 2035. Proponents of fracking point to the vast amounts of formerly inaccessible hydrocarbons the process can extract. However, there remain large uncertainties in the amount of gas reserves that can be accessed in this way. Detractors point to possible Environment environmental impacts, including contamination of ground water, risks to air quality,the migration of gases and hydraulic fracturing chemicals to the surface, surface contamination from spills and flowback and the health effects of these.

In 2010 fracking industry generated $76 billion in revenues, and put the U.S. on track to possibly become a gas exporter.

As fracking for oil and natural gas intensifies across the United States, FrackSwarm is developing information on the industry, the environmental and health impacts of fracking, legislative and regulatory activity, and citizen action. For state-by-state information on fracking click on the individual state pages to the right.