Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The fracking debate in the UK

Image Source: globalpost.com

The use of hydraulic fracturing to extract shale gas remains a tricky prospect to mainstream. While this is a groundbreaking (literally) manner of harvesting oil or natural gas, it is also decried as an environmental threat by concerned groups.

In the U.K., there are recent reports of this clash. Protesters are rising up against an exploratory oil drilling project at Balcombe. The worries of activists are the same: water contamination and seismic tremors, which fracking could trigger. Apart from these, environmental groups are also against the industrialization of Britain’s countryside and how the influx of industrialists and their equipment and facilities will adversely affect the communities there.

Image Source: theguardian.com

Meanwhile, British Prime Minister David Cameron has voiced his support for the technology, trumpeting potential economic benefits such as lower energy bills and the generation of more jobs. Other proponents of fracking in the U.K. look to the U.S., which demonstrated that exploiting natural gas reserves can reduce fossil fuel emissions.

Exploratory drilling for gas and oil around Britain has been on-going since 2011, but hasn’t commercially produced shale gas on-shore. Observers doubt there will be major developments within the decade. The opposition is stronger in the U.K. and there are still many details to be worked out by British lawmakers and private corporations. Without a solid agenda for how it will extract and export natural gas, the U.K. may end up missing out on the economic benefits that it has set out to attain.

Image Source: theweek.co.uk

Dr. Ali Ghalambor has co-authored several books on hydraulic fracturing and well productivity. Learn more about hydraulic fracturing and how it has affected the global oil and gas market by following this Twitter page.

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