Ethics of Fracking

Topics: Petroleum, Oil well, Water Pages: 4 (1436 words) Published: November 9, 2013
Ethics of Fracking
On April twentieth, 2010 one of the biggest tragedies in the Gulf of Mexico occurred. This disaster was not a hurricane or any other natural disaster, it was an oil drilling rig off the coast of Louisiana. The rig exploded, claiming eleven lives and acting as a catalyst for the largest oil spill in history. This catastrophes fault was laid upon BP, or British Petroleum, who owned the oil rig but the fault also lies upon government regulators, inspectors and engineers, all the oversights and errors, both small and large. In the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, five million barrels of oil were released into the gulf, threatening the sea life of the area for years and dealing a hard blow to the economy in the Gulf of Mexico. (Wikipedia) With a calamity of this size now in the past it is now possible to question the risk involved with extracting oil. With the instability of the methods the country uses to gain energy, are there alternatives to create a better future for all without damaging the earth in the process?

Hydraulic Fracturing is the process of “pumping water at high pressure to create fractures in reservoir rock that allow the oil or natural gas to flow more freely to the well bore.” (DEQ) Chemicals and silica sand are added to the fracking water to improve effectiveness and keep the fractures open, increasing flow of natural gas. Fracking has been used since the early 1950s to drill vertically, strictly where the well pipeline will be placed. (Bortman) Recently horizontal drilling has been implemented when drilling a new well. This process uses the same techniques that have been used for over sixty years but when the fracking fluid reaches prime drilling depth the fluid spreads horizontally creating more area for natural gas extraction but damaging increasingly more shale rock. (DEQ) Controversy comes mainly from the chemicals used in the fracking process, even though the chemicals used account for only one half of a...
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