Definition Description: Fracking Essay

967 Words Mar 9th, 2016 4 Pages
Introduction Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is a drilling technique used for extracting oil or gas from deep under the earth’s surface. It has been around for more than 60 years, but has emerged as a controversial topic in the US energy sector. The highly debated activity has become a focal point to environmental and political issues. Since 1949, the beginning stages, which started in Texas and Oklahoma, fracking has fueled an environmental debate of clean air, drinkable water, clean energy, and its large contribution to green house gases. This process is much safer and cleaner than the old method known as the “Exploding Torpedo,” but still leaves room for controversy due to its profitable amounts of oil and the lingering effects. …show more content…
The image below displays how these wells are constructed and the depth they must go to reach the oil and gas.

This drilled well then becomes encased in steel or cement to make sure the well doesn’t leak any components into the groundwater. After the well is finally sealed and fully drilled, fracking fluid is pumped downwards in extremely high pressures. This high pressure is powerful enough to crack and break up surrounding rocks to allow oil and gas to seep out. In order to break up this intensely strong rock containing gas, chemicals are added to the water. For the most part these additives contain salts, alcohols, lubricants and disinfectants but sometimes contain other materials. These materials are expected to be at a low level, but sometimes are overly used to break up tough shale and rocks. Once the rock or shale deep under the surface has been shattered and broken up, the trapped oil and gas is released and pumped back to the surface. Unfortunately, the oil and gas are not the only components that are pumped back up. The water and chemicals used to access that gas and oil are also brought back. Millions of gallons of water and materials, known as flowback liquid, are sent back to the surface. This is where most of the controversy begins, due to the harmful components of the flowback liquid. Essentially, the liquid that returns back to the surface includes heavy metals,

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