Monday, 17 January 2011

What a gas!

Please watch this video from New York. The homeowner had a gas company drill near his property to use a gas extraction technique called hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. He claims that a consequence of the fracking is that his drinking water can be ignited.

This video absolutely stunned me. Of course such a video is not proof, but it definitely needs independently investigating. Fracking involves pumping water and/or chemicals down into the ground under pressure to break the rock and release the gas. It is a technique that could massively increase the amount of gas available for use. As is often the case, however, we do not get anything for free. It is claimed that the fracturing can release gas and the pumped chemicals into the groundwater, from where it can be drawn into wells.

A documentary film, Gasland, is released today. Its tagline is telling: "Can you light your water on fire?" The situation is, of course, more complex than it first seems - it is alleged that tests of some of these phenomena show that the gas is biogenic (natural) rather than from reservoirs.

This is important to the UK as a firm is about to start extracting gas from the sea off Blackpool using this very same fracking technique.

This brings a simple question to mind: would the executives of the companies involved drink the water coming out of this man's tap? I guess not; I certainly would not out of choice. If the gas company is responsible (and this should be easily provable by studying the isotopes of the gas), then they should be responsible for putting it right.

But neither should this be used as a reason to stop such development. The company developing off Blackpool should be thoroughly open about the chemicals and techniques they are using (as they appeared to be on Radio 4 this morning), and also release geological data. In return environmentalists should be honest about their agendas and congratulate companies that display such openness.

1 comment:

The Odyssee said...

Wow, never seen anything like this before. When you think about it though i’m a little surprised that it doesn’t happen more often here.