Fracking is the process of drilling down into the earth before a high-pressure water mixture is directed at the rock to release the gas inside. Water, sand and chemicals are injected into the rock at high pressure which allows the gas to flow out to the head of the well.
The process is carried out vertically or, more commonly, by drilling horizontally to the rock layer. The process can create new pathways to release gas or can be used to extend existing channels.
Recently I read in the news about Lancashire County Council’s planning committee has rejected Fracking proposal. There have been other cases too especially in US where one city inhabitants complained about the colour of their drinking water changed and got contaminated due the Fracking being done in that city.
Environmental campaigners say that fracking is simply distracting energy firms and governments from investing in renewable sources of energy, and encouraging continued reliance on fossil fuels.
Advantages of Fracking:
Fracking allows drilling firms to access difficult-to-reach resources of oil and gas. In the US it has significantly boosted domestic oil production and driven down gas prices. It is estimated to have offered gas security to the US and Canada for about 100 years, and has presented an opportunity to generate electricity at half the CO2 emissions of coal.
Dangers of Fracking:
During this process, methane gas and toxic chemicals leach out from the system and contaminate nearby groundwater.Methane concentrations are 17x higher in drinking-water wells near fracturing sites than in normal wells.
Contaminated well water is used for drinking water for nearby cities and towns.There have been over 1,000 documented cases of water contamination next to areas of gas drilling as well as cases of sensory, respiratory, and neurological damage due to ingested contaminated water.
The waste fluid is left in open air pits to evaporate, releasing harmful VOC’s (volatile organic compounds) into the atmosphere, creating contaminated air, acid rain, and ground level ozone.
So there maybe one or two advantages like we might might be less dependant on fossil fuels or it’s creating employment in that particular area. However, we can not ignore the fact that it is causing us more harm and it is helping us.
Source: BBC, Carbon Brief