Fracking is a modern technique to explore natural gas through a controversial procedure. The controversy about scientific evidence for the impact of fracking has raged unabated for over a decade. It has now become one of the most popular debates between the supporters of Greenpeace or environmentalists and the energy companies. Now it’s a centrepiece of discussion in the context of the energy solution and considered as a really important source of energy by last few decades. Recent developments in the field of natural gas have led to a renewed interest in fracking. Energy seekers support a lot of arguments for their strength at the same on their counterparts. However, this essay will give a brief overview of the history, process, the benefits and the drawbacks of fracking within next few paragraphs below; Fracking is a stimulating process used by the energy company to initiate extra pressure in a producing formation to speed up the flow of gas more smoothly into the wellbore from the pocket of thousand feet deep underground rock.
Moreover it can be used to remove natural obstacles to the flow of fluids by million gallons of water with various chemicals and sand with an ultimate pressure injection to the wellbore. Growth of microorganism can be protected by water and other additives like biocides. Fracture can be uncovered by the chemical gelatinous material and ball bearing which accepting the pressurise fluids to escape of again – along with the gas. Shanon (2011) said “Thousands of gallons gelatinous materials are pumped under extremely high pressure followed by jet turbines for the fracturing of rock formations.”
Source: www.google.com/image/fracking source: http://www.fraw.org.uk/ideas/fracking/index.html
The first natural gas well drilled in the US by Devonian Shale in 1821.Than at 1860s, stimulator like Liquid solidified Nitro glycerine were used in shallow hard rock well in Pennsylvania. Later, horizontally drilled wells were first noticed in Texas in the 1930s. The technology has been endurably matured and developed; and in 1980s, it shows like a standard industry practice. Subsequently in 1990s, Barnett shale made it enabled to get the shape in economically viable for both horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing technologies. It seems that fracking has an enormous economic potentiality like accelerating the revenues, foreign investment, increasing national income, improving infrastructure, employment generation, safety reserve for future demand and much more. According to Shannon (20011), “There are huge possibilities, so, shale gas is chased by everybody.” It is North America, which already got a sufficient positive impact by natural gas through fracking. It could be creating a huge number of permanent and temporary jobs for residents and lead to gain energy independence. “It’s necessary to produce the gas with significant care, hope we will able to do it.
It’s necessary for us, both energy independence and contributes to job creation and growth will be achieved by it.” (Clinton, n.d). Obama(2012) spoke” we have a sufficient gas for America nearly one hundred years and there is a possibility to create more than 600.000 jobs by the end of the decades.” Fracking could be enhancing the tax revenue and national income of a country as well as economic enrichment. Mr. Moorman (2012) explicitly mentioned “Northern Ireland has a huge possibility of economic gain and of 14000 direct jobs by the year 2050 from £6 billion investments”.. In most recent studies suggested that fracking could be helpful for sustainable green environment as shale gas has low carbon content compared to other fossil fuels and acting as a bridge to reduce carbon in the future. It will result in a lot of foreign investment in the development of a country.
For the purpose of a safe, secured, sustainable and economically viable technology, its design was incorporated by state of the art and sophisticated procedure to accomplish an effective, economic and enormous flourishing fracture job. Micro seismic fracture mapping technology makes fracking as safe and economically viable than traditional method. A clear benefit of fracking in the prevention of CO2 emission could be identified from this analysis. It may help to gain the fulfilment of energy demand and becoming a Global leader of energy market for export natural gas. It can be seen that fracking bring wealth for local economy such as Northern Ireland has the possibility to become an important net exporter of natural gas by exporting surplus production and also get the tremendous economic gain. Furthermore it seems that Energy Company positively considered about the impact of fracking on the environment as well as health and safety issue. As Tamboran clearly stated that they will not utilise any chemicals in the fracking process in Northern Ireland. Hence, it could conceivably be hypothesised that fracking may consider as a dynamic, clean, most cost effective means to maintain energy supplies for almost every sector of the global economy like industrial, commercial, power generation even in residence.
It has been suggested that fracking can be brought energy independence for Poland by 2014 instead of depending on the Russian gas and abilities to get enough fuel to last for 300 hundred years (Donald Tuskd, n.d). Fracking can play a significant role for economic gain of a country. Richard Moorman(2012) remarks their project as an energy and economic game changer for Northern Ireland. For a widespread expansion of fracking, It seems to consider as the source of low cost fuels for an abundant supply. Moreover it can be seen that fracking is a source of high quality ‘end users fuel’ as it possesses lowest carbon intensity and clean burning in comparison with oil and coal along with lower level of sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, carbon monoxide and mercury in the trend towards a sustainable green economy. Furthermore, the most striking benefit of fracking is it can reduce GHG effectively. Despite its economic potentiality, safety and efficacy, it is unlikely that fracking creates a vast concern for environment, health and threat to nature’s ecosystem.
Data from several sources have identified an increasing amount of serious diseases and health hazards associated with the use of a wide range of chemicals in fluids which may carcinogenic or threat of serious health problem affecting the eyes, skin, lungs, intestines, liver, brain, and nervous system as well as a psychological disorder. EPA, found a range of toxic elements of contamination including arsenic, copper, adamantanes, vanadium and methane gas in fluids. Energy industry supposed to use more than 594 toxic, poisonous and radioactive chemicals which may causes serious threat to our environment. Nevertheless, fracking has not escaped criticism from politicians, agencies and social worker as it’s a common concern among local people. A county counsellor of Ireland expressed his serious concerns regarding fracking at the Lough Allen basin as its fluids may disturb the natural beauty of the landscape.
There is a huge decrease of property value resulted from fracking. Enda McGloin, stated his concern for possible environmental consequences of drilling. Even in the USA, fracking seems to be subject of strong protests and a film, Gas land, demonstrated householders setting tap water alight after it contaminated with methane as fire releases from the water tap. Another important risk factor is seismic risk which may cause law magnitude earthquakes. In 2008 and 2009, several law level earthquakes already occurred in Cleburne and Texas registering 3.0 on the Richter scale as its first earthquake in its 142 year history. Recently, UK also experienced the same level of earthquake may cause by horizontal drilling. One major criticism is that the destruction of fracking will cause an inevitable effect on our environment. Leaked in a fluid pipe and disposal of waste fluids may pollute surrounding’s environment. In many cases, a heavy rain can cause a pit to overflow and create contaminated runoff.
In May2009, PADEP discovered that two leaky joints in a pipeline which causing the death of many fish and animals. There is a widespread opposition to the idea of fracking among local residents. Sikorski argues “ It should be the key point of EU debate on energy security.” Thousands of Bulgarians protested for no freaking as it may poison underground water, trigger earthquakes and tremendous health problem. “We don, t want to see any fracking” (Meaney). Fracking causes significant environmental harm and destruction of natural beauties. In addition, it creates a tension between national energy and environmental policy. Fracking may cause the Air pollution, sound pollution and the contamination of ground water and drinking water. Not only this, quality of air also decreased by fracking. It may be responsible for Ozone pollution by using volatile organic compound nitrogen oxides. Furthermore it leads to an economic burden to the inhabitants as they need to pay huge amount of money for sampling and alternative source of water. Already many countries like France, South Africa, North Rhine Westphalia, and parts of Australia and even in a number of US states has been suspended fracking.
Finally the following conclusions can be drawn from the present study that even there is a very little common ground to support fracking notwithstanding a lot of demerits, there is no easier alternative to explore the natural gas which is an essential source of fuels. Horizontal well completions combined with hydraulic fracturing provide the best opportunity for producing an economic volume of natural gas. However, health and safety issue should be given top priority in the context of fracking. Nothing is more important than human lives. The evidence from this study suggests that energy Company should be scrupulous about the use of any radioactive and toxic chemicals and being cautious about the environment and possible health hazards.
A reasonable approach to tackle this issue, Energy Company should be work with government agencies, environmental organizations, and local communities to develop innovative technologies and practices that can reduce the environmental risks and impacts associated with shale gas development. Further investigation and experimentation into fracking is strongly recommended. Water treatment plants should be set up in every fracture well. Government also needs to take the necessary initiative to the implication of existing laws, acts and regulation relating to health and environment for controlling the fracking towards a safe method for exploring natural gas.
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