03/12/2012 // Las Vegas, NV, United States // Igor Purlantov // Igor Purlantov
Although the use of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing (fracking) to produce natural gas from shale formations has provoked serious debate it is becoming more popular with energy companies as they try to extract oil and gas out of shale rock. With natural gas demand increasing around the world and its use in the United States seen as a cleaner alternative to coal, the popularity of fracking is set to increase according to Igor Purlantov.
It is clear that public opinion on fracking remains seriously divided with many viewing it as hazardous to public health and the environment while others viewing it as a potential economic boom. Regardless of which side seems to have the best argument, there is no denying that fracking has already produced large numbers of jobs in Pennsylvania and is set to do so in Ohio and other states as well says Igor Purlantov. Experts have already estimated that Ohio alone has the potential to produce more natural gas than Kuwait and that fracking could produce more than 600,000 jobs across the country.
As the environmental debate over fracking continues, the practice is being focused on the largest shale and gas reserves spread across the Northeast, the upper Midwest, in Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Arkansas and the Rocky Mountain region. Because many of these shale reservoirs are close to large urban areas the environmental impact of fracking is coming under more scrutiny according to Igor Purlantov.
Most of the environmental concerns over fracking have to do with its use of millions of gallons of chemically treated water and sand that is forced underground to break up rock and allow natural gas to flow. These chemicals not only poise a serious threat to underground clean water sources but the disposal of toxic waste and resulting air emissions also poise a great risk to the surrounding natural environment. There is also concern that earthquakes have been associated with the pumping of water back into the ground says Igor Purlantov.
Despite these increasing environmental concerns, the use of fracking to extract resources 8,000 feet underground continues and has already opened the door to trillions of cubic feet of new natural gas reserves. According to Igor Purlantov, natural gas reserves across the United States have already increased by over 65% in the last decade and fracking has led to natural gas replacing 10% of the coal that is traditionally burned to generate electricity.
The potential benefits of fracking are not limited to the United States as it is predicted that natural gas will replace coal as the dominant source of energy in the world by 2030 says Igor Purlantov. Because of this continued growth and demand, as more people ask what the frack is fracking, the use of hydraulic fracturing will continue to increase in popularity and demand despite its serious potential environmental impact that has yet to be completely understood.
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