Fracking or shale gas extraction: the new great ecological threat?

Controversial shale gas drilling halted pending investigation into possible connection to tremors» source: THE INDEPENDENT.

The news is from a year ago, but the matter is extremely topical. It seems (I still don’t think there is anything proven) that this technique of “fracking” or fractionation of slate rock at great depths in order to obtain gas, can cause contamination of underground aquifers and tremors between 1 and 3 on the scale of Richter. But let’s get into the subject for a better understanding:

In the United States, this form of extraction is already a priority and they are obtaining a great yield, although we do not know at what environmental cost. The country’s desired energy independence is stronger than any other argument. And now let’s see what it consists of:

Shale gas, also known as slate gas, different from shale oil, and also called in English as “shale gas”, is a form of natural gas that is extracted from land where shale is abundant. Shale gas is found in sedimentary clay shales, although the rocky interior of the shale has low permeability. Therefore, for the commercial extraction of said gas, it is necessary to fracture the rock hydraulically.
Trapped quite deep, confined in large blocks of clayey sedimentary rocks caused by the accumulation of organic material, hides a natural gas classified as unconventional. It is shale gas -translated into Spanish as shale gas or, more correctly, shale gas-, which has aroused great expectations in the world energy sector, after the start of its exploitation in the United States has reduced the price of gas in its domestic market. “If the US covers part of its energy needs with shale gas and stops demanding so much conventional gas, as demand falls, the price of gas will fall.”
And as the US let’s keep in mind that the rest of the world will follow suit. Slate is a very “democratic” rock with a wide worldwide distribution. The one that is coming is to take into account for the producers of always.

How is it extracted?

From the open wells to exploit the conventional gas, it is drilled horizontally along the rocky block that contains the shale gas. The walls of these boreholes are covered with cement to isolate them from the aquifers and the ground. Through these horizontal conduits a valve is introduced that breaks the cement and the rocks with small electrical detonations. Later, between 4 and 10 million liters of water are injected, mixed with sand and additives that improve the suspension of the sand grains in the water. That liquid seeps up to the last open fracture in the rock, charging itself with the confined gas. That mixture goes back out. The sand grains introduced with the water get stuck in the cracks and keep them open so that the gas can continue to escape from the rocks.

So, let’s stay on the lookout because this could mark a before and after, but not only in the markets, maybe (hopefully not) also in the already beaten environment.

Via: The Highly Recommended Blog planet in danger

Source: Diario Ecologia by

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