Posted May 25, 2016

Fracking, or "hydraulic fracking" is revolutionizing the industry. For some, energy and economic security, for others, an environmental threat. But what is fracking, what are its advantages, and why is it controversial?

Image of oil drilling - Shale Gas

"Hydraulic fracking is a type of drilling that has been used commercially for 65 years. Today, the combination of advanced hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, employing cutting-edge technologies, is mostly responsible for surging U.S. oil and natural gas production."

The role of shale gas

As the world constantly demands more and more energy, the role that shale gas will play in providing energy security can't be defined just yet. Shale gas is stored in sedimentary rock formations that can be significant sources of oil and gas. Because of the permeability of the rock, it needs fractures to release the gas. After the drilling, high-pressure water (90%), sand (9.5%) and chemicals (0.5%) are discharged in the drilled surface, releasing the gas stored in the rocks. The high-pressure combination opens fractures in the rocks while the sand holds these cracks open and the chemicals help to reduce the friction and prevent pipe corrosion. This is when fracking becomes controversial. Because of the high-pressure release it requires, fracking employs millions of gallons of water per event. Industry companies claim that water can be recycled to minimize consumption. People are also concerned that fracking fluids can contaminate the environment, but several studies have shown that if injected and disposed of properly, these fluids represent a minimum threat to the environment.

Research new energy sources

During the past decade, fracking has been employed using horizontal drilling, which permits difficult-access rocks to be reached so that more shale oil and gas can be retrieved. Because of its affluence, gas and oil become cheaper and cheaper, beneficiating the economic industry.

Due to the oil deficit, the world must continue to research different and new energy sources, that won't represent a major threat to the environment if using best practices. This allows jobs generation, economic stability, and energy security.

According to the US Energy Information Administration, about 67% of the energy generated during 2015 was from fossil fuels (coal, natural gas, petroleum). Shale gas is projected to account for roughly 50% of natural gas produced in the US by 2035. There is no doubt that fracking is causing a revolution in the energy sourcing industry and who knows if, in a few years from today, it will become our main source of energy.

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Categories: Industry update

By: Atmos International
Date: 17 April 2019