FRACKING is a process performed to extract natural gas from underground by means of hydraulic drills that break up rocks.
It’s a very controversial method that can source renewable energy.
What is fracking?
Fracking is short for “hydraulic fracturing” and is the process that sees sand, water and chemicals injected underground at high pressures to crack open rock layers.
This is done to release any oil or gas trapped beneath the earth’s surface.
The term fracking refers to how the rock is fractured apart by the high-pressure mixture.
Companies have been using this technique for decades to extract oil and gas from hard-to-exploit rock formations.
Halliburton first used hydraulic fracturing back in 1949 as a way of increasing the flow of gas from wells in the US state of Kansas and has become more widespread in recent years.
How does fracking work?
Cracks in and below the Earth’s surface are opened and widened using the materials mentioned above.
The process can be carried out vertically or, more commonly, by drilling horizontally into the rock layer.
This can either create new pathways to release gases or can be used to extend existing channels.
What are the biggest fracking crises?
In 2011, energy company Cuadrilla suspended test fracking operations near Blackpool, Lancashire, after two earthquakes of 1.5 and 2.2 magnitudes struck the area.
A subsequent study found it was “highly probable” that shale gas test drilling triggered the tremors.
A government-appointed panel said there could be more tremors as a result of fracking, but they will be too small to do structural damage above ground.
Fracking has drawn criticism from the public and campaigners concerned about the environmental impact of fracking and the pollution caused by fossil fuels.
Fracking has been banned in France, Germany and several other European countries.
On November 2, 2019, the Government ended its support for fracking in England based on a new scientific analysis.
The US fracking boom
THE EIA – based in the States – is the world’s largest extractor but it raises concernc over the great volume of fossil fuels that it might unleash.
The drillig across US water and lands will release 140billion metric tons of planet-heating gases, as reported by The Guardian.
A study showed that emissions from such projects were four times larger than all of the planet-heating gases emitted each year.
This sets Earth on course a disastrous climate change.
What are the benefits of fracking?
Fracking gives us access to difficult-to-reach oil and gas reserves that are trapped in layers of rock underground.
It has also been a proven benefit to the US economy, increasing the country’s oil and gas reserves drastically.
It means the United States is no longer dependent on Saudi Arabia for oil or Russia for natural gas.
Drilling activities take place 24 hours a day and after the oil and gas are discovered, they have to be transported as well.