ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Fracking (Hydraulic Fracturing). Is it really bad? What are the dangers?

Updated on September 14, 2014

What is fracking?

"Fracking" (short for hydraulic fracturing) is a very controversial process for extracting natural oil and gas from undergound shale rock layers. Gas which was once unreachable with older technologies can now be extracted using modern techniques.

On the face of it, fracking is quite a simple process. First, drilling into the rock layer takes place - this can be vertical drilling, but is more commonly horizontal. Then, a high-pressure water mixture is directed at the rock to release the gas inside. The gas can then be brought to the surface. This high pressure mixture fractures the rock, allowing the gas to escape - hence the term "fracking".

Fracking nightmare

Fracking nightmare is a programme presented by Ian R Carne. Episodes can be seen on his YouTube channel. It is produced in association with UKColumn http://www.ukcolumn.org/
Fracking nightmare is a programme presented by Ian R Carne. Episodes can be seen on his YouTube channel. It is produced in association with UKColumn http://www.ukcolumn.org/ | Source

So why is fracking so controversial?

Energy companies say they are doing all they can to make sure fracking in done safely. Governments say that is brings enourmous benefits to the economy. However, environmentalists say that fracking is potentially an environmental disaster. Ian R Crane, an ex-oilfield executive, has become a leading opponant of fracking in the UK

So why is it so controversial?

There are three main problems which have been linked to fracking;

  • The sheer amount of water needed - so much so, that some have claimed that the process could make water shortages more common
  • The risk of pollution from the chemicals used
  • The risk of earthquakes - these have already been proven to be caused in some areas to the satisfaction of many experts.

A fourth problem, according to environmental campaigners, is that fracking is another process of recovering fossil fuels, which is diverting attention and investment away from renewable energy.

The sheer amount of water needed

Carbonbrief.org reports that

"One shale gas well might require anything from a few thousand to 20 million litres of water, according to the International Energy Agency. To put that in context, 20 million litres is equivalent to more than six hundred truckloads of water."

According to an article on the greenpeace website, concerns have been raised by Water UK, the UK environment agency and the UK Department of Energy and Climate change.

The risk of pollution from the chemicals used

There are many, many chemicals which can be used in the process.These chemicals are mixed and pumped at very high pressure into the ground, and could potentially get into the water supply. There is a spreadsheet available for download from here

http://www.frackingnightmare.com/downloads.php


And a list can be viewed online here

http://fracfocus.org/chemical-use/what-chemicals-are-used


Some of these chemicals have been linked to health problems, including cancer. The UK NHS website has an article about this here

http://www.nhs.uk/news/2013/12December/Pages/Study-tracks-health-effects-of-fracking-chemicals.aspx

The risk of Earthquakes

In 2011, newscientist.com reported that

In April and May this year, two small earthquakes struck the UK near the town of Blackpool. Suspicion immediately fell on hydraulic fracturing, known as fracking – a controversial process to extract natural gas by fracturing the surrounding rock. A report has now confirmed that fracking caused the earthquakes.

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn21120-how-fracking-caused-earthquakes-in-the-uk.html


In September 2013, nbcnews.com reported

"Wastewater from the controversial practice of fracking appears to be linked to all the earthquakes in a town in Ohio that had no known past quakes, research now reveals."

http://www.nbcnews.com/science/science-news/confirmed-fracking-practices-blame-ohio-earthquakes-f8C11073601

Review of the evidence

Many people feel that in Canada, the US and Australia, there is already a lot of evidence to show that high pressure fracking is causing contamination of the water, soil and air. A video has been released examining this subject called "The Truth Behind the Dash for Gas" a short extract of whch is below.

Energy companies say they are doing their best to minimise any problems.

So what are the facts? Do you have any first hand experience of fracking in your area, or do you know of anybody who has? If so, I'd appreciate your comments below so we can all increase our knowledge.

Have your say

Do you think fracking should be permitted in the UK?

See results

Dash for Gas - trailer

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image
      Author

      Mark 1 3 years ago from UK

      Thank you - yes, I agree, it's such an important topic. Thanks also for the link you posted. You might find the internet show "Fracking Nightmare" (available on YouTube) informative. I have no connection with the show, but get most of my information from there. It's a UK based show but shows much of what's already happened in other countries.

    • My Esoteric profile image

      My Esoteric 3 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      I see nobody has commented, too bad, it is an important topic with both good points and bad ones. I don't know where I come down on the subject yet, especially after reading things like this; http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/06/20/345131...

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)