Anorak News | Amazingly, fracking is less polltuing than normal drilling for gas

Amazingly, fracking is less polltuing than normal drilling for gas

by | 22nd, March 2013


University Fracking Research

WELL, along one dimension it is, fracking producing much less waste water (and polluted waste water) than normal drilling for gas does. It isn’t quite how we normally think of it of course, but it does seem to be true:

There is a perception that the hydraulic fracturing of rock to discharge natural gas produces inordinate volumes of wastewater. After all, millions of gallons of water mixed with chemicals are pumped at high pressure into the ground and a considerable portion of this fluid rushes back to the surface when the pressure is released.

OK, so that bit’s true, that lots of waste water is generated by fracking for shale gas.

Our results surprised us: On average, shale gas wells generated about 10 times more wastewater but also produced about 30 times more natural gas. This means conventional wells generate about three times more wastewater than hydraulically fractured wells to produce the same amount of natural gas.

So, we get more gas for whatever amount of water that needs to be cleaned up of its pollution. And actually, it gets even better than this. The water that flows out of conventional wells is water that has been down there a long time. Where it has been steeping in all those lovely minerals. And so it has picked up a much higher contamination of all those nasty heavy metals etc. That is, despite the chemicals that we put into fracking wells, the water that comes out of them is actually cleaner.

Less and cleaner water from fracking: it’s really becoming quite hard to say that we shouldn’t go frack Lancashire on environmental grounds, isn’t it?

Oh, and with the reports today that the country is running out of gas because of the cold weather: sounds like we really ought to just get on with drilling Blackpool, eh?

Photo: Protesters gather on the plaza across from the state Capitol in Nashville, Tenn., on Friday, March 15, 2013, to speak out against a University of Tennessee plan to allow hydraulic fracturing to extract natural gas on a state-owned tract of rolling woodland. 

Posted: 22nd, March 2013 | In: Money, Reviews Comments (2) | TrackBack | Permalink