March, 28, 2018
Fracking, also known as hydraulic fracturing, is “the injection of fluid into shale beds at high pressure in order to free up petroleum resources (such as oil or natural gas)”1. Fracking is done primarily to access petroleum resources (oil, natural gas, etc). In an article published by Fluenta, the author(s) point out that fracking is important and can help expand the energy industry. In fact, fracking can lower petroleum resources. As stated in the article “it fracking has been estimated that production can reduce energy prices by up to 40 per cent.2” In conclusion, fracking is a method in which petroleum resources can be released and used and fracking is a stable way to advance the energy industry.
Fracking is accomplished through creating a lengthy, vertical well identified as a wellbore through layers of sediment where there is natural gas; when the hole reaches 2,500-3,000 meters(about 1.56 miles to 1.86 miles) the well accomplishes the hole’s “kickoff point” where the hole turns into a horizontal,right angle for approximately 1.5 kilometers( about 0.93 miles) across a condensed black surface known as the shale rock formation ” then pumping that horizontal well full of water (plus sand and some chemical additives) at an extremely high pressure.3″ Also, clay can be mixed in as well, so that the resources can be discharged even after the water and the water’s pressure is removed.The vertical wells can be as long as just under two miles. At first, a specific penetration tool is used to form 2.54 cm(1 inch) long holes and then the fluid is released. This then causes cracks in the rock, releasing petroleum resources and sometimes even water. The petroleum resources are involuntarily moved into horizontal wells and then elevated to depository tanks with the water that comes back upwards. That is how fracking is done.
The effects of fracking are listed below: ”
Contamination of groundwater
Methane pollution and its impact on climate change
Air pollution impacts
Exposure to toxic chemicals
Blowouts due to gas explosion
Large volume water use in water-deficient regions
Some reasons why those effects occur are listed below. Water pollution can occur during the process because of leaks when the outer casing of fracking “veins”(normally made of steel and cement) which pollutes clean water around that hydraulic fracturing areas. An example of this is illustrated by the BP Gulf blowout disaster. Another side effect is air pollution, which occurs as methane gas is being discharged from the fracking wells. In addition, air defilments are also discharged via the “various drilling procedures, including construction and operation of the well site, transport of the materials and equipment, and disposal of the waste.5” These are some of the side effects of fracking and some of the reasons why they occur.
One of the positive aspects of fracking is that fracking allows more natural gas to be available. This then creates less destructive air particles in the air as without fracking people would be using coal for energy, which is more destructive. Furthermore, natural gas takes 44-50% of the greenhouse gas discretions. The risk of earthquakes of consequence, which are inherent to the earth, been very minor. “There’s also research to suggest that the potential for earthquakes can be mitigated through safeguards.6” These are the positive aspects of fracking.
One of the negative aspects of fracking is that it may contaminate clean water. Many believe the chances of such an event as an aftermath of fracking is low, although a sizable essay was written in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences which verified high-volume fracking can indeed pollute what would otherwise be pure water. Despite the fact that in a previous paragraph I mentioned that there are low chances that there is a correlation between earthquakes and fracking, we barely know what the potential effects of most things related to fracking are on our environment, and this could present major hazards. Another negative aspect of fracking is the release of methane. In a study by Cornell University, the idea was proposed methane was released in the process of fracking. Also, there is some controversy whether burning coal or natural gas is cleaner, although natural gas which is revealed through fracking gives out half the carbon dioxide the methane released is still a problem as methane is more hazardous than coal, some scientists debate that methane in time dissolves which results in little of a long term problem. Also hydraulic fracturing may remove time and resources from the expansion and discovery of greener, recyclable energy resources.
Fracking has been and still is a complex issue that has faced the world, there has been numerous references to fracking recent politics and for many years before that. Fracking can be traced back to the civil war, when a war veteran, Colonel Edward A.L. Roberts in Fredericksburg, Virginia observed what potentially could be achieved when igniting exploding weapons into a constricted canal that occluded the battleground, this was termed as fluid tamping. On April, 26, 1865 he accepted his first patent for his “advance” in imploding torpedos in artesian wells. On November 1886, he was bestowed the 59, 936 identified as the “Exploding Torpedo”. The abstraction technique was enforced by loading an iron encase contained with 15-20 pounds of power; this torpedo would then be imploded by them by joining the uppermost part of the outer casing with a cable to the surface and then filling the borehole with water; this greatly improved his profit. Modern day fracking was believed to be started in the 1940s. Recent political accounts of fracking are everywhere, in an article by Forbes, proved that former president Barack Obama, did indeed support fracking, whereas other countries such as France and Bulgaria “with the largest shale-gas reserves in Europe, have already banned fracking12”. In addition, possible hydraulic fracturing areas have been obstructed by protesters ,and many movies and music have supported the resistance of fracking with “The Promised Land” with the lead role of Matt Damon and the Rolling Stones new single “Doom and Gloom”.
Fracking has been used for long periods of time to the extent that some people would say fracking is as old as using potelum, and hydraulic fracturing most likely will continue, which is why it is vital that fracking becomes a safer and more reliable way of harnessing energy. There are a few simple steps we can take, one of which is to simply fix leakage, the leaks of hydraulic fracturing can cause leakage of methane which causes fracking to be more of an issue rather than a resolution to climate change. Another solution would be to gather improve information. Improved data would allow us to improve the process of fracking making there be less consequences to fracking. Lastly, a more broad and simple way is to fix hydraulic fracturing is to build better pipes, the prime issue of fracking is the reliability of fracking and by building better wells this would no longer be an issue. That’s how we can make fracking safer.
“Fracking.” Merriam-Webster. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 22 Mar. 2018.1
“What Is Fracking and Why Is It Important?” Fluenta. N.p., 11 July 2017. Web. 22 Mar. 2018.2
Kershner, Kate. “How Hydraulic Fracking Works.” HowStuffWorks Science. HowStuffWorks, 08 Mar. 2018. Web. 25 Mar. 20183
National Geographic Society. “How Hydraulic Fracturing Works.” National Geographic Society. N.p., 18 Mar. 2013. Web. 27 Mar. 2018.
“Potential Health and Environmental Effects of Hydrofracking in the Williston Basin, Montana.”Case Studies. N.p., 07 Mar. 2018. Web. 27 Mar. 2018. .5
“Pros and Cons of Fracking: 5 Key Issues » Yale Climate Connections.” Yale Climate Connections, 6 June 2017, www.yaleclimateconnections.org/2015/05/pros-and-cons-of-fracking-5-key-issues/.6
Considine, Timothy J., et al. “Environmental Regulation and Compliance of Marcellus Shale Gas DrillingEnvironmental Regulation and Compliance of Marcellus Shale Gas Drilling.”Environmental Geosciences, GeoScienceWorld, 1 Mar. 2013, pubs.geoscienceworld.org/eg/article-lookup/20/1/1.7
Howarth, Robert W., et al. “Methane and the Greenhouse-Gas Footprint of Natural Gas from Shale Formations.” pp. 1–12., www.atkinson.cornell.edu/Assets/ACSF/docs/attachments/Howarth-EtAl-2011.pdf.8
TEDEducation. “How Does Fracking Work? – Mia Nacamulli.” YouTube, YouTube, 13 July 2017, www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tudal_4x4F0.9
OilPrice.com. “The Origin of Fracking Actually Dates Back to the Civil War.” Business Insider, Business Insider, 14 Apr. 2015, www.businessinsider.com/the-history-of-fracking-2015-4.10
Helman, Christopher. “President Obama Gets It: Fracking Is Awesome.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 13 Feb. 2013, www.forbes.com/sites/christopherhelman/2013/02/12/president-obama-gets-it-fracking-is-awesome/#3e51d75f425d.11
Susan L. Brantley and Anna Meyendorff. “Opinion | The Facts on Fracking.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 13 Mar. 2013, www.nytimes.com/2013/03/14/opinion/global/the-facts-on-fracking.html.12
Gold, Russell. “How to Make Fracking Safer.” The Wall Street Journal, Dow Jones & Company, 4 Apr. 2014, www.wsj.com/articles/how-to-make-fracking-safer-1396549574. 13