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Hydraulic fracturing, commonly referred to as fracking, is a drilling process used in the extraction of underground oil or natural gas trapped in hard-to-reach shale rock formations deep within the earth. The process involves well construction, acquisition of source water, well stimulation by hydraulic fracturing (using fluids that typically contain a variety of chemicals), and waste disposal.

Advances in horizontal drilling technology make significant shale gas formations newly accessible for development. As a result, natural gas production in the U.S. is at its highest level in more than 30 years.

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