Shale Gas

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  • Created on: 11-01-13 15:14
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Synoptic Booklet ­ figure 11
Shale Gas:
What is it?
· Natural gas formed from being trapped within shale formations
· Increasingly important source of natural gas in the United States
· In 2000 shale gas provided only 1% of U.S. natural gas production by 2010 it was over 20%
· Extracted by drilling a hole deep into the dense shale rocks that contain natural gas then pumping in at
very highpressure vast quantities of water mixed with sand and chemicals. This opens up tiny fissures
in the rock, through which the trapped gas can then escape. It bubbles out and is captured in a well tha
brings it to the surface, where it can be piped off
· New sources of fossil fuels in the US could help to keep the OPEC countries from creating a monopoly
on fuel prices
· Reduces reliance on other countries (Russia, Iraq and Qatar)
· Provides long term jobs
· Reduced surface footprint as multiple wells can be drilled from a single pad
· Shale gas is 17% cheaper than the cheapest renewable fuel
· New source of fossil fuels
· Bigger resources means fossil fuels will last longer
· Cleaner than using coal
· Nonrenewable, supplies will eventually run out
· A fossil fuel, produces high amounts of CO2 and other green house gases
· Large quantities of water are pumped in, water supplies are already limited (18 million liters used to
drill and fracture one deep well)
· Possible the fracturing fluids which frequently contain chemicals will accidently contaminate natural
aquifers that supply drinking water
· Do not have high rates of production
· Wells have to be drilled to be able to fully exploit a shale gas source
· Contribution of shale gas is to the annual fossil fuel consumption is low
· Poor disposal of the sludge waste that results from fracking
· Seismic activity involved in fracking ­ causing earthquakes in the US
· Leaks of methane can occur, leading potentially to fires or explosions
· Can destroy large areas of environment to drill


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