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Page added on May 31, 2014

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The Danger of Natural Gas


Natural gas continues to grow in popularity, but could be a lethal energy resource

Natural gas is currently one of the most aggressively supported forms of fuel in the United States. The government has been investing heavily in support of natural gas over the past few years, claiming that this fuel can be used to transition away from fossil-fuels and embrace a more sustainable future. While natural glass is cleaner than both coal and oil, it is still considered a fossil-fuel, and its production may have serious environmental drawbacks that are not receiving much attention.

Natural shale gas is acquired through a process known as hydraulic fracturing, also known as “fracking.” This mining process involves the injection of a mixture of liquid, chemicals, and sand into deep rock formations. This injection creates small fractures in these rock formations, from which gas and petroleum can escape. The process itself is relatively straightforward, but its impact on the environment could be problematic.

Fracking is dangerous

Fracking is a dangerous process despite its seemingly simple nature. The liquid mixture used in fracking contains more than 600 different chemicals, including lead, uranium, radium, and hydrochloric acid. Most natural gas wells extend well beyond 10,000 feet, with these wells passing through water reservoirs. The wells are not specifically designed to contain the toxic chemicals that are used in the fracking process and, as such, these chemicals seep into natural water reservoirs. Methane concentration is 17 times higher is water reservoirs near fracking sites.

Approximately 30-50% of the liquid used in the fracking process is recovered, with the remainder of the fluid left underground. This fluid is not biodegradable and will contaminate anything it comes into contact with. The fluid that is recovered is left to evaporate into the environment, which releases volatile organic compounds that can lead to acid rain, ground level ozone, and contaminated air.

The fracking process produces approximately 300,000 barrels of natural gas on a daily basis, but the energy benefits of this gas may be severely outweighed by the environmental and health damage caused by fracking. Natural gas also produces carbon emissions, which are responsible for their own kind of environmental damage. While natural gas may be popular in the U.S., it may not be as ideal a form of energy as many may think.

4 Comments on "The Danger of Natural Gas"

  1. rockman on Sat, 31st May 2014 7:30 am 

    “The wells are not specifically designed to contain the toxic chemicals that are used in the fracking process and, as such, these chemicals seep into natural water reservoirs.”

    I can only speak for Texas and La but that statement isn’t just speculative BS but an absolute lie and that is easily verified. The entire well design is constructed to avoid just that possibility. And not just from a closely monitored regulatory standpoint but from an economic angle by the companies. If the well bore design doesn’t isolate the frac’d interval from the rock just 100′ or so above it (let alone many thousands of feet above in the fresh water interval) there’s a very good chance the well won’t produce adequately and the company just lost $6+ million. That’s a pretty good motivation to get it right.

    And how much could be lost if the frac isn’t isolated from the surface? The loss could be as high as $50 to $100 million: if the pressures of the frac reaches the surface it could destroy a lot of expensive surface equipment, the well itself and potentially kill a number of the hands. But even in that case contamination of the fresh water may not happen because the regs require sufficient casing protection just in case of such an event.

    So even if there were zero safety regs the companies have all the motivation to get it right. Not doing so risks many $milllions while not offering any savings in the frac effort itself. As I’ve been hammering on my Yankee cousins in PA et al the risk of contaminating the fresh water with frac fluids is real but not primarily from the frac’ng process itself but from the improper disposal of the recovered frac fluids.

  2. Davy, Hermann, MO on Sat, 31st May 2014 7:36 am 

    Rock the greens are just as guilty of fact distortions and outright lies as the Lobby of Plenty and the MSM and Wall Street psychopaths. Thanks for the words of reason.

  3. rockman on Sat, 31st May 2014 8:26 am 

    Davey – In PA and NY it has been worse then just distortion of the truth but actually allowed environmental problems to develop early on. Everyone up there was obsessed with the sight of those big red frac trucks and ignored those innocuous looking water tankers hauling away the recovered frac fluids. Those fluids were actually being dumped legally by local municipal water treatment facilities into the water shed even though it was illegal for private companies. I began posting such warnings on some of their local media outlets more then 3 years ago. And, BTW, never got one thank you. LOL. Eventually both PA and NY passed laws making it illegal for local govt’s to also do so. But there were still some who dumped illegally like a company that sent it down the sewer system for years.

    Similar to the efforts to impede the construction of pipelines to transport Alberta oil sands production. All well and good: doing so has provided incentive to haul it by more dangerous rail transport. All you can do is ask those so called stewards of the environment: Are you happy now? LOL.

  4. J-Gav on Sat, 31st May 2014 2:44 pm 

    Upshot? No silver bullets for the upcoming energy crunch. Put off for a while? I’d say so. Put off for 100 years? LMAO, as net talk says these days. 50 years? Maybe LOL is good enough there, as it looks like under 20 to me.

    The consumer-based socio-economic model is doomed and that makes a lot of people very uncomfortable – whether it’s consciously or sub-consciously, they know something’s wrong.

    Will that suffice to bring on a massive change in mentalities as regards energy and consumption in general? For the moment the jury’s still out, but it looks like they’re under a lot of pressure from the judge: i.e. “Don’t you miserable bastards dare stop Walmarting, otherwise we’ll grab your retirement, savings and the rest of it.

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