HYDRAULIC FRACTURING or FRACKING is the technique used to release natural gases (shale, tight, coal seam), petroleum or other substances.
A distinction can be made between low-volume hydraulic fracturing used to stimulate high-permeability reservoirs, which may consume typically 20,000 to 80,000 US gallons (76,000 to 300,000 l; 17,000 to 67,000 imp gal) of fluid per well, with high-volume hydraulic fracturing, used in the completion of tight gas and shale gas wells; high-volume hydraulic fracturing can use as much as 2 to 3 million US gallons (7.6 to 11 Ml) of fluid per well.This latter practice has come under scrutiny internationally, with some countries suspending or even banning it. The first use of hydraulic fracturing was in 1947, though the current fracking technique was first used in the late 1990s in the Barnett Shale in Texas.
Detractors point to potential environmental impacts, including contamination of ground water, risks to air quality, the migration of gases and hydraulic fracturing chemicals to the surface, surface contamination from spills and flowback and the health effects of these. State and federal regulatory agencies and the industry are working to address these concerns. The EPA is conducting a study, set to be released for peer review at the end of 2012, of hydraulic fracturing’s impact on drinking water and ground water resources.
Click here to sign the petition to ban fracking in California.