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A deeper look at fracking process

Here's what Bob Townsend, administrator for the state minerals and mining office, has to say about the past, present and future of hydraulic fracturing -- "fracking" -- in South Dakota:

"Hydraulic fracturing has been used on both gas and water wells in South Dakota for decades, but to a limited extent.

"The most recent use of the practice was on some gas wells completed in the Pierre Shale in Harding County a few years ago. However, there has been no large-scale multi-stage hydraulic fracturing done in South Dakota as has been practiced to unlock the Bakken Formation in North Dakota and other similar tight formations across the country.

"The distinction being primarily one of volume -- a typical Bakken horizontal well in North Dakota takes anywhere from three to six million gallons of fluid, or 300 to 600 truckloads, to fracture the well. A typical vertical gas well in South Dakota requires ten to twenty thousand gallons of fluid, or one to two truckloads, to fracture the well.

"The Red River Formation in Harding County is responsible for the vast majority of our oil production and it does not require hydraulic fracturing.

"We do not anticipate large scale hydraulic fracturing in South Dakota unless an unconventional, tight formation is discovered to contain oil or gas. The Bakken does not extend into South Dakota."