Oil Fracking

Fracking! We’re not talking here about global warming, and “deniers” versus “warmists.” We’re talking about the game-changing new set of unconventional oil and gas extraction technologies and techniques collectively known as  hydralic fracking, or “fracking.”

Research from Cornell has suggested that leaked methane – a powerful greenhouse gas – from wells essentially wipes out any greenhouse gas benefits of natural gas derived from fracking. And at other points in the life cycle, namely transmission and distribution, there are further ample leaks. Falling natural gas prices will only encourage more energy use, negating any “cleaner” benefits of gas. 

A major study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, confirmed that high-volume hydraulic fracturing techniques can contaminate drinking water. There have been numerous reports by citizens across the country of fouled tap water; it is a fact that some of the tap water has even turned bubbly and flammable, as a result of increased methane. 

What is fracking?  Shale gas is methane trapped in tiny pockets in shale rock formations. In order to extract the gas, engineers drill shafts down into the shale, most often with many radiating horizontal shafts that feed into the vertical shaft. Engineers drill vertical shafts down to great depths, then they drill radiating horizontal shafts that feed it. Then they force hydraulic fluids into the rock to fracture the shale and open the pockets of gas, releasing it to flow to the surface. The number of fracking wells has expanded rapidly in the US, liberating increasing amounts of methane.

If fracking was just a new-fangled way of tapping natural gas sources, it would be welcomed by most people as a cheaper, cleaner alternative to oil and coal. The problems lie in the method of extraction.In order to get the gas out, a witch's brew of toxic chemicals has to be pumped into the shale at high pressure. More specifically, this is a mixture of water, sand, lubricants, poisons to keep bacteria and other microorganisms from clogging the pipes, and hydrochloric acid to dissolve the excess cement in the pipes (Brooks, 2013). If these fluids stayed far underground, they might not damage the human environment. The problem is that they find their way back to the surface through accidents at well heads, well blowouts, backflow of fluids to the surface, and leaks throughout the system. Altogether, more than 650 products containing chemicals with potential cancer-causing properties have been used in fracking 

The main conflict between those who support fracking and those who do not is more of a philosophical split. Fracking detractors claim that continuing to exploit every square inch of the nation, in a desperate search for more natural gas and oil is only delaying the inevitable. The belief that renewable energy should be taking priority over discovering new sources of gas and oil is pervasive.

Hydraulic fracturing creates way in the underground rock till the deposits of oil and shale gas, but the highly pressurized liquid that penetrates the rock and is left inside when the drilling hole is sealed, creates unprecedented quakes in and around the extraction area and affects the people that live there.

 

YouTube Videos on Fracking
Fracking Explained
Fracking Hell:  The Untold Story