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Earthquakes, Water Pollution and Increased Greenhouse Gas Emissions? Fracking - Strike Number Three?

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12/19/2011 09:26 PM
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Earthquakes, Water Pollution and Increased Greenhouse Gas Emissions? Fracking - Strike Number Three?
Source: [link to oilprice.com]

The last decade has seen a sustained campaign by the hydraulic fracturing (‘fracking”) industry against its critics, as the fracking industry in the U.S. alone was worth an estimated $76 billion in 2010 and is projected to grow to $231 billion in 2036 if only those pesky environmentalists can be sidelined. According to Washington’s energy Information Administration, production of shale gas in the United States in 2010 totalled 4.87 trillion cubic feet (tcf) compared with 0.39 tcf only a decade earlier.

The combination of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing has already transformed North America's natural gas market in less than half a decade. In 2000 shale gas was 1 percent of America's gas supplies; today it is 25 percent. While U.S. energy companies began fracking for gas in the late 1990s, there was a dramatic increase in 2005 after the administration of President George W. Bush exempted fracking from regulations under the U.S. Clean Water Act. According to Washington’s energy Information Agency, shale gas production has grown 48 percent annually.

But there still some snakes to be chased from the industry’s campaign to convince the electorate that natgas produced by fracking is safe, as on 8 December the Environmental Protection Agency said for the first time it found chemicals used in fracking in a drinking-water aquifer in west-central Wyoming.

Soothing the electorate, the industry group Energy in Depth reported, “The history of fracturing technology’s safe use in America extends all the way back to the Truman administration, with more than 1.2 million wells completed via the process since 1947.”

And the feds are backing fracking as well, as a new estimate from the U.S. Department of Energy, estimates that the national gas resource can be sustained for 110 years at current consumption rates.


Full article at: [link to oilprice.com]