Why should you care about Fracking?

Question for comment

1) For your community in central Massachusetts which would you rather they invest in solar, wind or natural gas resources and why?

2) Which states account for most of the natural gas production ? (Resource link)

As fossil fuel prices rise our search for new means of extracting usable fossil fuels has expanded.  One of the new methods that has become usable is releasing natural gas-methane from shales that contain considerable amounts of trapped gas.  Shales are rocks that are made of mud, and the gases have been trapped in the rocks since formation many millions of years ago.  To release the gases we drill into the rock layer, and then frack it, hydraulically fractured.   The diagrams below indicate the number of locations in the US where this resource is or could be tapped.  The method is described in the next two diagrams.  The key is to release the methane gas by fracturing the shale rock to allow the gas to be released from the rock.  The fracturing is done with highly pressurized fluids.

 

shale

This natural gas that can only be extracted with fracking is of considerable value. In 2000, approximately 26,000 hydraulically fractured wells produced 3.6 billion cubic per day (Bcf/d) of marketed gas in the United States, making up less than 7% of the national total. By 2015, the number of hydraulically fractured wells had grown to an estimated 300,000, and production from those wells had grown to more than 53 Bcf/d, making up about 67% of the total natural gas output of the United States. EIA estimates that natural gas production from hydraulically fractured wells now makes up about two-thirds of total U.S. marketed gas production.

Here, resource for natural gas weekly updates.

frack prices

To date three problems have emerged as a result of  the 2005 ruling that fracking was exempted from regulation by the Safe Drinking Water Act (1974) leaving it up to the states to monitor and regulate a rapidly increasing number of fracked wells.

1) Contamination of surface water from fracking fluids and erosion from the drilling preparation and pipeline laying process. Radioactivity associated with drilling. Fish kill from drilling.

2) Depletion of water resources for the drilling process in Texas during a drought.

3) Release of natural gas that propagates up through the rock contaminating water wells in Pennsylvania. Also see Duke University study

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