We note some new developments in hydraulic fracturing (HF):
1) Pennsylvania's long awaited HF Commission Report finally issued last week (July 22, 2011).
2) The Report is 137 pages. The purpose of this Commission Report is not to focus on HF technology, but the report does provide extensive technical background. The report shows, for example, at Figure 17 (page 28) a picture of the shale pores which reveals the sub-micron (nanoscale) nature of the problem of getting natural gas to pass through these openings. Pore size analysis is an important aspect of nanotechnology generally which is often overlooked (e.g., "micropores," versus "mesopores," versus "macropores"). Figure 17 and its supporting discussion show typical pore size of 0.000019 inch diameter pores, which is 482 nm.
3) Today, six new HF patent applications published at the US PTO continuing a strong innovation trend in a "hot" commercial area. Three of the six are more environmentally motivated. Two relate to the type of proppant. The sixth is for use of seismic data.
HF technology will continue to evolve and improve - at a rapid rate - and regulatory action will need to keep pace to be effective and balance the need to commercialize and the need to protect the environment. I would have suggested that at least several pages of a lengthy report such as this would include emerging innovation which may impact the HF situation.