Thursday 6 December 2012

Thursday Video: Fracking!

The fracking issue in the United Kingdom is being reignited once again since the Chancelor George Osborne has shown in his Autumn Statement support to the the industry in this field, with tax advantages and other iniciatives.

I cannot have an opinion on this topic simply because I don't have enough information. But I find annoying how people who become specialists after reading two or three posts in a forum have a ground and solid opinion, not based on facts and data but on opinions of others.

How much of the arguments against fracking are pure myths? How much the economy really benefits from this shale production? Surely there are pros and cons, but like in many other topics, "controversy" many times is simple ignorance and fanatism. It reminds me the "controversy on evolution": There is not such controversy, full stop.
It's actually difficult to find reliable information on it.

Is Blackpool going to collapse? No.

Is fracking causing earthquakes? Perhaps Mw 2.3 or 1.5 events, but hardly anything that doesn't already occur naturally in the British Isles

Is the Large Hadron Collider kill us all? Well, do you see what I mean with "controversies". A controversy is good, it sparks debate. A "controversy" is not. I doesn't spark anything.

Most of sources are biased to one side or to the other, and hardly anyone speaks about the geomechanics behind, about the drilling technique, about the geology involved... The truth is that we consume more and more energy, and we need to get it from somewhere. We all know that oil and gas is a patch and not a permanent solution to our energy needs. But as long as we live in as we do now (heating systems based on gas, cars running on petrol), we need fossil fuels and this is not an option.

This week The Independent published a story that, in my opinion, is just bad journalism. "The great rush: Government to give green light to mass exploration for shale gas", simply don't talk about what is actually fracking. It just echoes the arguments of Greenpeace, and this is all. The media has been repeating that for two or three days now:

"They suggest more than 32,000 square miles – or 64 per cent of the countryside – could potentially be exploited for shale gas and is being considered for exploration licences."

So what? It doesn't mean that this 64% of countryside will contain profitable prospects. Most of the surface of any country is potentially open for exploration of mineral deposits, and we don't live in open pits, do we?

Unfortunately, geology is an unknown topic for the vast population. Hardly anyone stops to think "one moment... this earthquakes in Blackpool, CAN they actually be produced by some fluid injection in the rocks down my feet?"

This short clip I found in YouTube is quite appropiate for today. . It's an animation that illustrates part of a talk given by Prof. Mike Stepheson asking, precisely, for information. The public needs information, not ready-made ideas and opinions. And then, they will decide what is best.

And yeah, keep wearing shorts and tshirt at home while outside is freezing. That really helps the debate.

Any opinion? Any good source of information? Let's discuss. :-)

I find the term "fracking" awesome. I think I will use it as substitute of the F word. "What do you think of this fracking shales thing, pal?"


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