The process of fracking, also known as hydraulic fracturing, is the method used to extract natural gas and oil from the earth’s surface. This technique consists of applying a great amount of pressure in the subsoil in order to drill the rock and thereby collect the fuel. When drilling the rock, water along with other chemicals are inserted while the fuel is being filtered into the conduit. The drilling is done vertically and then horizontally to cover as much rock as possible. Once this is done, the extract is pumped through the drilled holes with dissolved chemicals until the rocky substrate breaks. Through the newly created cracks, the gas returns to the surface mixed with water.
Despite fracking having been a very popular technique since the 19th century, the consequences of this practice are beginning to be reflected today. As a perforation, it has high risks of explosion, gas leakage, and leaks of sulfuric acid—which are extremely toxic—among other risks. In addition, it presents a high risk to the environment. For this drilling, more than 400 chemicals are used, such as methane, which is 85 times more polluting than carbon dioxide. It is estimated that between 25 and 75 percent of the flowback that comes to the surface is stored in outdoor ponds, creating immense toxicity of the water. Furthermore, the amount of water used for this process is also alarming. However, it is inferred that by 2030, this practice will be highly diminished due to the extreme harm it causes to the environment.
By Antonella Anento, 11th