Fracking pioneer George Mitchell has passed away


George Mitchell served his country as a member of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers before he became the “father of fracking.”

Although George Mitchell has passed away, his legacy will remain. As the hydraulic fracturing technology he pioneered has emerged as an increasingly critical tool for U.S. oil and gas producers, the man has received numerous honors for his contributions to the field of petroleum engineering.

In May, the Texas State History Museum Foundation honored the entrepreneur with its "History-Making Texan Award." State lawmakers later passed a resolution commemorating Mitchell's accomplishments. Governor Rick Perry joined the praise of Mitchell, calling him "beyond a visionary" and "one of our great Texans of not just our lifetimes but of the history of this state."

Measuring the impact of Mitchell's achievements

America's oil and gas production had been in a steady decline for years when fracking entered the public vocabulary during the last decade. By 2005, U.S. natural gas production had recovered to a level not seen in nearly four decades. However, the 19 million cubic feet produced during that year was topped shortly after. Last year, domestic companies produced about 25 million cubic feet of gas – an all-time record for the U.S. industry.

This boom in production has had a wide range of positive effects on communities across the country, driving economic growth by generating employment and investment opportunities. In a recent blog post, we looked at how this prosperity is expanding to more areas as a result of ongoing investment in new industrial facilities, personnel and production equipment.

Improving the rate of progress requires ongoing innovation

Producers have continued to make strides in improving the effectiveness of their operations over the years, but expanding the legacy of George Mitchell will require an ongoing commitment to implementing new technology.

The hydraulic jet pump can be a particularly valuable addition to any oilfield because it offers a level of versatility that other equipment simply cannot match. This solution can be used to effectively complete drill stem testing and initiate production at new sites or improve recovery rates at established wells.

The unit can be deployed in straight, horizontal or deviated wells and its streamlined design makes optimization simple, as it can be retrieved through manipulation of surface valves and reverse circulation of fluids, eliminating the need for a work-over or wire-line unit. Furthermore, with no downhole moving parts, maintenance needs are minimal.

Jet pumps can even be successfully used at sites where issues with the completion of well casing would limit the effectiveness of other solutions.