Extracting oil or natural gas from shale, tight sandstones or coal beds requires drawing the resource through openings about one half the width of a human hair. Hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking", uses water pressure to create hairline fractures in rocks deep underground so oil or natural gas can flow through a well to the surface.
Once the well is drilled, the fracking process begins. Hydraulic fracturing fluid, mainly water and sand, is pumped down the well to create tiny fractures in the rock well below the surface.
Once drilling and fracking are complete, and resources are flowing, the producing wellhead will remain in this state for the rest of its producing life, which can be 20 to 30 years.