17 November 2011

Fracking: Some Links

I'm just going to link farm today.  Subject, fracking, the propagation of fractures in layers of rock in order to draw through the rock the buried petroleum, natural gas, or other valuable stuff.

According to Schlumberger's oilfield glossary, "engineered fluids are pumped at high pressure and rate into the reservoir interval to be treated, causing a vertical fracture to open." Who is Schlumberger?  The "leading oil field services provider," according to the company webpage.

Some residents in Oklahoma reportedly suspect that recent seismic activity there owes something to the practice, but this article in The Christian Science Monitor takes a skeptical view.

Fracking is a more likely culprit for small earthquakes near Blackpool in England recently though.

Earthquakes aside, the usual complaint against fracking involves the potential for water pollution.

The Oil and Gas Accountability Project says bluntly that "our drinking water [is] at risk" due to the practice.

The OGAP cites a white paper prepared by the U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory which described "produced water," i.e. the waste products.  "The many chemical constituents found in produced water, when present either individually or collectively in high concentrations, can present a threat to aquatic life when they are discharged or to crops when the water is used for irrigation."

Joseph Nocera is among those who defends the practice of fracking. He said America "needs the Marcellus Shale," which has 500 trillion cubic feet of reserves, so that we ought to "accept the inconvenience that the drilling will bring" and insist that the drilling be done in ways that address the environmental issues.

There is a spirited discussion in the comments under this post in The Volokh Conspiracy.

1 comment:

Cicily Corbett said...

since the word for fracture (of rock) in french is "faille," you should be the expert on this

Knowledge is warranted belief -- it is the body of belief that we build up because, while living in this world, we've developed good reasons for believing it. What we know, then, is what works -- and it is, necessarily, what has worked for us, each of us individually, as a first approximation. For my other blog, on the struggles for control in the corporate suites, see www.proxypartisans.blogspot.com.