Cheap Oil and Fracking

If have been to the petrol pump recently, you might have noticed that petrol prices are lower than usual. So what is driving these prices to decline? Well it is because of simple economic theory of supply and demand. The supply of crude oil has increased significantly in the US mostly thanks to a relatively new technique known as Hydraulic Fracturing (Fracking).

What is It

Like any other method of extracting oil from the ground the initial process involves drilling a well deep into the earth to reach the layer known as the shale where the crude oil and or gas is found. When this layer is reached the well is then drilled horizontally across the shale layer for many miles. Cement and steel is used as casing for the well and ensure that there is no leakage of oil to the layer above the shale which may contain sources of water. When the casing the complete and tool called the perforating gun is lowered into the well and explosive chargers are fired in the well. Water mixed with some chemicals is pumped down the well and this helps the softened the shale along the (fractures) made by the gun. Once the gun is removed extraction of oil and gas and begin.

Pros

  • The worlds dependence on oil is undoubtedly very high and fracking provides an easy cost effective means of extracting it.

 

Cons

  • Fracking can expose methane, which is a greenhouse gas to the environment.
  • Fracking can potentially cause leakage or chemicals and oil to an underground water source.
  • Fracking is only increasing our dependence on fossil fuels and might be slowing down advancements in the development of more greener technologies.

 

 

Author: Denish Pillay

Science, sports and technology enthusiast.

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