Pressure to respond to falling oil and gas prices by cutting operating costs, coupled with the need to reduce the social and environmental footprint on host communities, will force fracking firms to employ a more targeted approach to drilling wells and hydraulic fracturing in future.
More than a million fracturing operations have been conducted in the United States since 1947, according to the U.S. National Petroleum Council, yet in many ways the technology is still immature.
In many instances, fracturing remains an expensive, brute force exercise that wastes resources while causing unnecessary disruption to affected communities.
The relative inefficiency of current fracking approaches was highlighted by Paal Kibsgaard, chief executive of oilfield services company Schlumberger, in a speech back in March.
Too many wells are being drilled into parts of shale formations that have poor production potential, Kibsgaard said.