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Lance May 8th, 2013 8:16 AM


Hydraulic fracturing is the fracturing of various rock layers by a pressurized liquid. Some hydraulic fractures form naturally—certain veins or dikes are examples—and can create conduits along which gas and petroleum from source rocks may migrate to reservoir rocks. Induced hydraulic fracturing or hydrofracturing, commonly known as fracing, fraccing, or fracking, is a technique used to release petroleum, natural gas (including shale gas, tight gas, and coal seam gas), or other substances for extraction. This type of fracturing creates fractures from a wellbore drilled into reservoir rock formations.

The first experimental use of hydraulic fracturing was in 1947, and the first commercially successful applications in 1949. As of 2010, it was estimated that 60% of all new oil and gas wells worldwide were being hydraulically fractured.[2] As of 2012, 2.5 million hydraulic fracturing jobs have been performed on oil and gas wells worldwide, more than one million of them in the United States.

Proponents of hydraulic fracturing point to the economic benefits from vast amounts of formerly inaccessible hydrocarbons the process can extract. Opponents point to potential environmental impacts, including contamination of ground water, depletion of fresh water, risks to air quality, the migration of gases and hydraulic fracturing chemicals to the surface, surface contamination from spills and flow-back and the health effects of these. For these reasons hydraulic fracturing has come under scrutiny internationally, with some countries suspending or banning it. However, some of those countries, including most notably the United Kingdom, have recently lifted their bans, choosing to focus on strong regulations instead of outright prohibition.
Thoughts? Environmental concerns?

Amore May 8th, 2013 8:43 AM

Interesting, Fracking actually forms part of our A level Geography course at school.

I do think in the UK's case we're wasting our time pursuing it when we could focus on something like Nuclear. Sure, it's dangerous but we've got one of the best track-records in it, and know what all the risks are. Fracking on the other hand is still debated, with all the potential risks from contamination of groundwater (apparently somewhere in the USA fracking led to CH4 entering peoples' water supplies, so they could set fire to what came out of their taps), causing earth tremors (part of the reason its controversial in the UK, it was linked to two small earthquakes near Blackpool).

And let's not forget that the gas produced will produce CO2 etc. when burnt, which is an environmental concern oft ignored in the debate. So that overall despite the potential benefits/risks, its still slowing the needed switch to green energy on a large scale. Although I do love to use that oil-derived diesel in my car :/

Sanguine May 8th, 2013 9:45 AM

As it stands, we have a seemingly overwhelming reliance on coal, which "fracking" would surely help to rectify. Changing to nuclear, solar or wind energy can't happen in a flash and considering that this method only produces a fraction of the amount seen with coal, we should at least attempt to embrace it, right?

I understand where one could get their doubts - fracking uses a massive amount of water, which contains chemicals and other materials that could seriously harm the environment. There's also the earthquake matter, and the fact that waste from fracking can also cause serious environmental harm.

From my viewpoint, the long term benefits sorta outweigh the the potential risks, as the right amount of regulation can effectively suppress them. It may not be the right solution as it stands, but it should still garner credit as a potential fuel :shrug

The Dark Avenger May 8th, 2013 9:57 AM

Hydralic fracking, from the little I know about it, seems to work well if using the correct technology and following safety protocol correctly. Though, the research on both sides is not really strong enough to convince me either way.

Esper May 8th, 2013 11:09 AM

It causes earthquakes. That's a pretty dang large drawback all on its own.

I get that clean technology needs time to be efficient and cheaper and all that, but solar and others have been around a long time already and we've partially not adopted them in a widespread way because we have all these stopgap fuel sources. I don't know enough about fracking to say it's better or worse than oil, coal, etc., but it is another non-renewable fuel and renewables are the way we need to go.

Shiny Celebi May 8th, 2013 12:02 PM

If it causes earthquakes and pollutes, it's a problem. This sounds great but we need to consider alternatives as well that could be cleaner and safer. We need to find other renewable fuels, whic fossil fuels are not and there is a finite supply and it will run out, we need to be prepared for that to happen.

TRIFORCE89 May 8th, 2013 3:40 PM

My only concern is the contamination aspect, but that can be rectified through regulation. So, no biggie.

Lance June 3rd, 2013 8:29 AM

I think the earthquake issue could mediated by doing it away from population centers, assuming the deposits are indeed away from urban areas. If not, then I'd suggest more green alternatives like what Scarf mentioned.

OmegaRuby and AlphaSapphire June 7th, 2013 1:22 PM

Well some areas like in the eastern US earthquakes tend to be weaker but travel farther, so having it be away from a population center may not necessary be enough, especially in an area that doesn't have buildings made for earthquakes and have some that are old.
Not sure if it was proven but it's believe that the earthquake that happened last year that caused the monument to crack was due to Fracking.

twocows June 8th, 2013 7:54 PM

From what I've heard from someone actually knowledgeable on the subject (I am not), the environment concerns are highly overblown and the practice is much safer than environmentalists make it out to be.

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