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Thursday, April 11, 2013

Long-Term Costs Of Fracking Are Staggering

Long-Term Costs Of Fracking Are Staggering:
By Jane Dale Owen via
All the hype by the fossil fuel industry about energy independence from fracking (hydraulic fracturing) in tight gas reservoirs like the Barnett Shale has left out the costs in energy, water and other essential natural resources.
Furthermore, a recent report from the Post Carbon Institute finds that projections for an energy boom from non-conventional fossil fuel sources is not all it’s cracked up to be.
The report cites a study by David Hughes, Canadian geologist, who says the low quality of hydrocarbons from bitumen – shale oil and shale gas – do not provide the same energy returns as conventional hydrocarbons due to the energy needed to extract or upgrade them. Hughes also notes that the “new age of energy abundance” forecast by the industry will soon run dry because shale gas and shale oil wells deplete quickly. In fact, the “best fields have already been tapped.”
“Unconventional fossil fuels all share a host of cruel and limiting traits,” says Hughes. “They offer dramatically fewer energy returns; they consume extreme and endless flows of capital; they provide difficult or volatile rates of supply over time and have large environmental impacts in their extraction.”
We must ask, is it worth the cost when it takes from 3 million to 9 million gallons of water per fracture to extract this fuel? The withdrawal of large quantities of surface water can substantially impact the availability of water downstream and damage the aquatic life in the water bodies, says Wilma Subra, scientist and national consultant on the community and environmental impact of fracking. When groundwater resources are used, aquifers can be drawn down and cause wells in the area to go dry...Read more: