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Pros and Cons of Fracking to Produce Oil Products

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Fracking to produce oil products

                                                                        By: Lam Vu.

Fracking - also known as hydraulic fracturing is a technique for extracting oil or natural gases that are stored deeply under the ground by pumping fluid into the wellbores. When the fluid be injected in and creates a big enough pressure, it will crack the rock layers which is deep underground. This fluid usually contain water, sand and chemical which is usually aluminium oxide, also generally mentioned as proppants, which helps to create a pathway and allows oil and natural gas to flow smoothly through layers of rock and be able to be pumped to the surface easily. (Lallanilla, M, 2015.) 

The production of hydraulic fracking allows us access to more oil and natural gases that we could not reach with our old, traditional procedure. As fracking allows us to drill deep in the Earth’s surface, taking the gas and oil that are stored in a thousand layers of stone, we can have more natural gas and oil which bring us a huge proceed from them. It also supplies us an extensive electric and energy sources. (Rinkesh, 2016.)

        Although hydraulic fracturing can help us a lot in order to extricate oil and natural gas that are stored unfathomably underground but on the other hand, it is also controversial as the amount of resources that it needs to complete its complex process. Plus, it can also cause to a ton of negative effects. Some of factors that can be affected are environmental elements such as air, water, soil and citizens’ health of the areas around the zones where fracking has happened. (Horton, M, 2015.)

        Firstly, one of the main chemical that is used in the fracking process is methane gas. Methane is known as a main component of natural gas that is 25 times stronger in trapping heat in the air than carbon dioxide. (Hoffman, J, 2016.) During fracking process, an estimated amount of 4% of methane gas was released into the atmosphere accidentally. The escapes of this hazard gas have led harm and detriment to the air quality of the regions that surrounding fracking places. Moreover, the ancillary elements of hydraulic fracturing have also directly increased the air contamination at well sites. (Horton, M, 2015.) In addition, crystalline silica, which is known in the form of sand - the main ingredient that is used in the fracking process can lead to silicosis - an incurable lungs disease - when inhaled by the workers. (Hoffman,J,2016) Wasting water in fracking sites is also a big point. Tons of litres of water are used in hydraulic fracturing process every year. This has led to a serious reduction of the amount of clean water for surrounding areas, entailing the consequence of lacking of available water from lakes and rivers across the country. (Horton, M, 2015.) Besides to air and water resources pollution, hydraulic fracturing process also increases the ability for oil spills which is harmful for the soil and surrounding vegetations. According to The Associated Press recent report, the amount of chemical infected soil from drilling waste has increased nearly 5,100 percent over the past decade and more than 512,000 tons last year. Consequently, a ton of soils and vegetations has been infected from oil drilling and toxic chemical that leaked through the cracks from fracking. (Hoffman, J, 2016.)

Hydraulic fracturing brings us a lot of environmental issues yet also provide us oil and natural gas which are indispensable in our daily. Then what is the solution for us? The answer is green fracking! The first innovation that would be highly recommended is water-free fracking. A lot of water has been wasted during fracking process, therefore, we can supplant water by gel fluid contains proppants or liquefied propane gas. (Brino.A, 2011) By this procedure, we will be able to eliminate the waste of water. Plus, gel can hold sand better than water which would give us the same outcome yet need only one-eighth of the liquid. This is because the amount of hydrocarbon in the gel is equivalent to what is underground so that the fluid can merge into the flow which is extracted from the ground, getting rid of drain contaminated water. However, the defect of this procedure is that the fluid will be injected at the slower rate which could decrease the productivity.

The second solution that can also be apply to reduce this problem is using recycled water or brine. Most of the fracking sites are typically using fresh water for fracking process but not only clean water that can be used, industry researchers have worked for perfect friction-reducing extension that would permit us to use recycled water or brine pumped from the ground.

Even the methane gas emission is no longer a big deal. According to the Environmental Defense Fund, inspectors that are equipped with infrared camera would be able to point out the leaks of methane gas at fracking sites, which can than be plugged. However, a infrared camera can cost from $80,000 to $100,000 which would be a big issue that needs to be solved as soon as possible. Another inventors that helps reducing the methane emission in the air is to replace conventional pressure-monitoring pneumatic controllers. These are handled by gas pressure and vent gas when they are operating. Operators would also be able to eliminate an 5.9 billion cubic feet of methane gas emission into the air annually by switching out typical chemical injection pumps used in the hydraulic fracturing process, which are operated by gas pressure from the wellbores, and replacing them with solar-powered pumps, announced in the Environmental Defense Fund’s report. (Patrick J.Kiger,2014)

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