The fracking , or hydraulic fracturing is a technique used to recover oil and gas from shale rocks inside which can be very deep and that traditional means of extraction is not possible or feasible exploitation.
To do this, the earth has to be drilled and through the sounding carried out, introduce high pressure water directly on the rock, in order to fracture and release the gas. Along with water, sand and chemicals are injected into the rock to facilitate the release of gas or oil and to flow into the mouth of the extraction well.
The process can be carried out vertically , or as is more normal, horizontally up to the rock layer. In addition, new ways can be created and opened to continue exploring the subsoil in search of new resources.
The cons of fracking
Fracking is a widespread practice in recent years in the US , which has managed to multiply the production of oil by five , which allows today, not having to import foreign oil. However, there is a lot of concern regarding the possible environmental problems.
Much controversy surrounds the use of hydraulic fracture. Recently protesters from environmental groups opposed the use of the technique to extract gas in a village called Belcombe, England. The fracture had already been banned in the country in 2011 after geologists associated the technique with earthquakes in Blackpool, northwest England. However, the method was resumed in the second half of 2013 under the claim that gas could be an inexpensive alternative to electricity – the UK faces problems in this regard.
Here is a list of cons or disadvantages of fracking
- The first thing is that fracking uses large amounts of water that must be taken to the fracking reservoir, with a high environmental cost. We are talking about billions of liters of water per well.
- The second is the concern for the potentially carcinogenic chemicals that are used and that could be released uncontrolled and contaminate groundwater. The industry argues that this is only the result of bad practice, rather than an inherent risk, but that is only recognizing that it exists, right?
- There is also concern because it is thought that fracking causes small earthquakes . In the area of ??Blackpool in the United Kingdom, two earthquakes of magnitude 1.5 and 2.2 were registered in 2011, after having undertaken fracking work. Although it is recognized as a secondary effect of the technique, they are so small and local that they are considered a lesser evil for the population in general.
- Finally, environmentalists believe that through fracking the big energy multinationals and governments stop supporting the research and development of renewable energies to continue betting on fossil fuels and their associated environmental problems .
- In addition to the risk of contamination of neighboring areas, the process may allow the gases accumulated in the rocks to reach aquifers. A study by scientists at Duke University in North Carolina found elevated levels of methane and ethane in more than 100 private wells that supply homes in the Marcellus shale gas basin in northeastern Pennsylvania and the southern state of New York.Methane concentrations in drinking water from households less than a kilometer from drilling sites were, on average, six times higher than water from farthest houses, while ethane concentrations were 23 times higher.
- Polluted fluids from hydraulic fracturing are cited as the cause of death of aquatic species in Kentucky rivers near farm areas where leaks have been found.A study by the USGS and the Fish and Wildlife Service shows that the fluids released into the environment have degraded the quality of the water to the point of causing injury to the fish gills and the liver and spleen.
Prs of fracking
Fracking allows access to gas and oil resources that are impossible to exploit in the conventional manner. In the US, as has been said, it has meant a great boost to the production of oil and that is also why we currently have fuel prices (gasoline, diesel …) at the 2012 level . In addition, the USA thanks to fracking have secured their reserves for another 100 years.
It is estimated that the implementation of the fracking technique will generate employment in depressed areas the onwners of the land will also be greatly compensated .
Another pro of fracking is that it is cheaper than methods available to extract fuel from the rock did not offset the investment.