OR/15/066 Executive report summary

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Cuss, R J, Wiseall, A C, Hennissen, J A I, Waters, C N, Kemp, S J, Ougier-Simonin, A, Holyoake, S, and Haslam, R B. 2015. Hydraulic fracturing: a review of theory and field experience. British Geological Survey Internal Report, OR/15/066.

Executive report summary

This report summarises the current state-of-the-art knowledge of the hydraulic fracturing process used by the shale gas/oil industry using open peer-reviewed literature and from government commissioned research reports. This report has been written to make statements on our knowledge of the following questions:
  • How do hydrofractures form?
  • How far do hydrofractures extend during stimulation?
  • What dictates where hydrofractures propagate?
  • How do hydrofractures interact with the existing fracture network?
  • Can the size and distribution of hydrofractures be controlled?

Gaps in our knowledge have been highlighted, with the largest of these resulting from differences between North American and European shale rocks.