Fracking and water pollution
Date of Submission:
What impact could exploratory drilling and fracking for Shale Gas have on our environment and how is it best regulated?
Potential implications of hydraulic fracturing include; contamination of ground water, chemicals used volume of water required and disposal of fracturing fluid. Physical effects include seismic activity causing earthquakes1, air pollution and natural radio activity. The purpose of this paper, focus will be on potential risk of ground water pollution and disposal of fracturing fluid and how United Kingdom currently regulates this.
Hydraulic fracturing for shale gas or “fracking,” is aprocess which works by injecting mixture, made up of water, sands and small amount of household chemicals, injected into shale rock at high pressure. Causing rock fracture, releasing gas hydrocarbons trapped inside, which is pumped to the surface along with the fracking fluid.2
Hydraulic fracturing came under the limelight recently, David Cameron backing the U.K to become self-sufficient regarding gas supplies. North Sea gas basin is dwindling and this year we officially sign formal contract with Russia to import gas to supply U.K, with the current crisis in Crimea, relying on Russian gas could been seen as a risk and fracking is chance to supply our own gas rather than rely on imports. For shale production to happen, Britain would need to opt out of applicable E.U legislation and local authority regulations.3
Fracking isn’t a new process; it was invented in 1947 and been standard practice used for much of the world’s energy extraction, including the North Sea.4
Hydraulic fracturing stimulation was first used in Kansas, United States 1947. Since then, over 2.5 million fracture treatments have taken place around the globe. Significantly, 60% of onshore...