Natural Gas Fracking or Hydraulic Fracturing

A practice which could draw much needed energy from natural sources has become highly controversial due to accusations of a marked environmental cost. 'Gas Fracking' is a process which taps into and releases pockets of natural gas trapped and stored in shale beds. One UK company is setting up specialist drilling facilities near a stretch of the north west coast of Britain which constitutes some of Europe's first shale gas wells. These projects will ascertain the suitability of the gas found in the UK.

Energy Provision Advantages of Gas Fracking

It is thought that there are enough reserves of this natural gas which has been named 'the unconventional gas' in the surrounding area to yield millions of cubic feet and supply perhaps 10% of the UK's energy needs. The International Energy Agency believes that Europe could provide 35 trillion cubic metres of gas hidden in rock formations. Currently Europe consumes approximately 580 billion cubic metres of gas per year.

Large companies within the industry are concentrating their sights on the perceived abundance of this gas throughout Europe, the processing of which would create much needed jobs. The race is on to gain the rights to develop extraction facilities wherever a reserve is located. Some experts have compared this to the old oil and gas rushes of the past

Gas Fracking Use of Chemicals & Release of Subtances

Despite the optimistic prophesies from advocates of this method of natural gas extraction, there is huge controversy involved which places a significant question mark over the whole procedure, widely practised throughout the US. Environmental groups present arguments and evidence of dangerous aspects related to pollution of water supplies, agriculture, landscapes and the overall energy policies. This is partly a consequence of the use of chemicals in the fracturing process which are thought to contaminate.

Other objections include claims that fracking releases substances such as benzene, hydrochloride and radioactive particles and is not strictly enough regulated. Some researchers are looking into the possibility of responsible fracking of gas, although others argue that this is not possible

Gas Fracking - Controversial Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Escalation of awareness about the subject has been unprecedented and gas fracking is now the subject of vigorous debate amongst governments, industrialists and green campaigners, with many publications and blogs discussing the subject.

Public health worries about gas fracking seem to have strong grounds for concern but are claimed to be inconclusive by the industry. Opponents claim that fracking has not reduced energy consumption or the need for coal in the US but just added to it.

While industry officials state that natural gas emits roughly 50% less CO2 than coal and so is kinder to the environment, researchers state that these benefits are offset by the 'fugitive' emissions of the powerful greenhouse gas 'methane' which is produced by fracking.

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