Hydraulic fracturing, also referred to as ‘shale gas’ fracking, is the process of extracting tiny gas molecules from below the earth’s surface using a vertical or vertical, turning horizontal pipe.
For the first time since 2012, when fracking was suspended due to the triggering of minor earthquakes, Yorkshire councillors are in conversation about the future of fracking and what level of support the practice will receive.
The method involves drilling a pipe down towards gas molecules and pumping ‘slickwater’ (the preferred liquid for fractured shale reservoirs) at high pressure to force the cracks containing the gas to widen. Proppants, which usually contain sand and other chemicals are used to hold the cracks in the rock open, allowing gas to be released and transported back up to the earth’s surface where it can be extracted.
“Frac jobs” are extremely popular in the US with over one million of these having being executed. However, there is a great deal of controversy surrounding the idea of fracking in many countries, such as the UK, where Government support for fracking has recently hit a new low.
North Yorkshire County Council is in talks about a bid submitted by Third Energy, an independent gas development company, with a view to extract shale gas at their site in Ryedale. Protestors have furiously opposed the project, whilst the council committee is expected to begin casting votes at 19:30 this evening. Live reporting is available on the BBC News website. According to reports, hundreds of members of the Yorkshire community gathered outside a meeting about the plans last Friday, which was held at the County Hall, Northallerton.
According to local brewer Kyle Boot, the introduction of fracking in Rydale could change the way the local community perceives local beer due to the concerns about contamination of local water caused by fracking. He said, "Our company mantra is 'if something can't be done safely then it does not get done at all”.
There are also a number of potential environmental impacts associated with fracking, such as the contribution towards global warming, the disposal of radioactive flowback fluid, air pollution, earthquake risks and groundwater contamination. Earthquake prevention in particular, had a huge influence on the temporary ban on fracking in 2012 after small earthquakes were triggered by hydraulic fracturing, causing a large amount of uproar.
Energy Jobline will provide a conclusion of the council meeting in due course.
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