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Is America Fracking Crazy? Essay

1863 words - 7 pages

In a highly advanced society such as the one we find ourselves in today, advancements in technology itself and the processes it involves are constantly being innovated. Presently, one of the major technological concerns is to find alternative ways to harness cheap energy in order to keep our society running. In the past it has been discovered that the previous forms of energy that we used such as oil and coal, were harmful to the environment.  Because of this, the recent development of natural gas extraction from shale rock, by the means of hydraulic fracturing has been discovered.
The main objective of the process of hydraulic fracturing is to access oil and gas resources that are locked in non-porous rock (Howarth, Ingraffea, and Engelder 3). The main type of rock surface that is used in this process is shale rock due to its vast amounts of trapped natural gas mostly consisting of methane (1). When hydraulic fracturing occurs, a well is drilled horizontally into the shale rock surface at about 1000 meters deep (Kramer 2). The next step in the process is to create channels for the gas trapped in the rock to escape through. This is done by injecting a substance known as fracking fluid deep inside the well at consistently high pressure, causing the rock to fracture. Once the channels are made, pressure is released and the fracking fluid flows back up to the surface supposedly into a confined disposal area.
This newly developed technology has strong supporters for three main reasons. First pro-fracking companies stress the fact that the United States has an abundance of natural gas just waiting to be extracted for our use. Secondly it is thought that the energy obtained from shale gas is more efficient and economically feasible than relying on foreign oil imports. Lastly, it is thought that shale gas energy has the ability to reduce the carbon foot print from the burning of fossil fuels such as coal and oil(Howarth, Ingraffea, Engelder 4-5).
The first reason the push to extract natural gas from U.S. soil has increased in recent years is due to the fact that supporters of this process believe that the United States has such an abundance of shale gas resources at its fingertips that it would be devastating not to harness it. However, statements have been made that greatly overestimate the amount of natural gas resources that U.S. actually has. According to the Energy Information Administration of the U.S. Department of Energy, it is estimated that by the year 2035, 45% of the U.S. natural gas resources will be depleted.  With all the investment needed to increase the production of fracking sites, the topic of whether it is worth the amount of money and time needed to increase the process arises, especially if the resources we are going to obtain from it will be exhausted in a short amount of time.
The second main reason fracking is supported in the U.S., is that it is thought to be more efficient and economically feasible than relying on foreign...

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