Whilst the southern part of the UK get their proverbial knickers in a twist, led by the siren voices of the Green Party, WWF and FoE, it might be worth taking stock and asking “What is fracking?” That the drilling site at Balcombe is primarily about oil drilling has been lost with only half hearted mentions by the BBC to that effect. Disaster theories are much more in the interests of the Green Movement. Most of the stories from the states are actually fabrications which unfortunately obscure concerns that should be addressed, diverting attention from the issues that need good and safe management. We need economical plentiful energy and fracked gas may well be our answer but we don’t want another gold rush as we have for wind and we don’t want local concerns steamrollered by panicky pollies. However to make the right decisions we need knowledge. Let us just address some myths.
- One comment heard recently is a suggestion that every field in around every village will be drilled? It doesn’t work like that. One drill head sends out what we shall call tentacles over a wide area.
- Flames come out of water taps? At 8000ft down you are well below any water supplies. This was a problem in many coal areas where methane got into the ground water. Some environmentalists spun this against fracking.
- It destroys large footprints? When fracking is underway there is a great deal of disturbance and noise for a limited duration. Typically 70-100 days, although the actually drilling element of that is quite limited. However once the wells are dug and the drill capped a small pipe is all that remains above ground with, at the most, a building the size of a shipping container. At Balcombe, despite a long established drill site, no one knew it was there.
- Blowback and drill pipe leaks into the groundwater? Yes, they do happen, but if the job is done professionally and well supervised by the regulatory authorities the risk is minimal. Incidents in the states had more to do with cowboy operations rather than well managed and supervised sites. On properly regulated sites no such problems have occurred.
So you now need to have facts not stories. I shall point you to this web site which will clarify many points. energy from shale