HOUSTON, July 26 (Reuters) - George P. Mitchell, a billionaire philanthropist credited with making the extraction of natural gas from shale rock commercially viable using the innovation of hydraulic fracturing, died at the age of 94 on Friday. His family said the death was from natural causes.
A native of Galveston, Texas who came from meager means, the petroleum engineer was the chairman and chief executive officer of Mitchell Energy & Development Corp, which was sold to Devon Energy Corp for $3.5 billion in 2002.
Mitchell drilled for natural gas in a rock formation known as the Barnett Shale in north Texas where the first successful application of hydraulic fracturing, also referred to as fracking, resulted in the viable production of natural gas.
The Woodlands now has a population of more than 100,000 and is home to corporations including Anadarko Petroleum Corp. The world's largest publicly traded oil company, Exxon Mobil Corp, is building a 385-acre campus in the area to accommodate 10,000 employees.
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