Fracking has been common practice in America since 1950. That, along with the oil boom of the 1970’s, ended up creating a state of flux for the country by the late 90’s and early 2000’s. In 2006, American oil production was in steep decline along with natural gas.
In other words, America was about to hit rock bottom in the energy game.
Little did the world know a company called Mitchell Energy was going to change the game in fracking—and they were going to do it on accident.
The target? Shale—a dense rock deep below Mitchell Energy’s land in North Texas.
According to The Atlantic, other major companies such as Exxon and Chevron gave up on trying to frack it, because it was so difficult, so Mitchell Energy’s best bet was to try to crack the case.
With the industry in turmoil, Mitchell Energy came up with a solution.
The breakthrough actually happened by accident, as one of the contractors mixed the fracking chemicals wrong. The result ended up being more liquid than the thicker substance it should’ve been (it should almost resemble Jell-O).
After this fateful accident, the well’s results started coming back surprisingly well. A man named Nicholas Steinsberger noticed this and started using this new mix in different places.
This was back in 1999.
Overwhelmingly positive results from the wells started pouring in. They had finally figured out how to frack shale. In 2001, Devon Energy bought Mitchell Energy for $3.1 billion, and other oil and gas companies caught on to this new method of fracking shale.
It turned things around for America, and we started to become more energy independent since we were extracting resources from places that used to be thought impossible. All because of an accident!