Friday, December 9, 2011

Fracking Earthquakes

This article is brief but explains that basically there are people that suspect earthquakes in Ohio have been caused by drilling for natural gas. They have gone as far as setting up four new seismographs in the area of Youngstown, Ohio. The new seismographs have seen eight minor earthquakes already this year. The last one on November 25 was a 2.1 magnitude quake. The latest quake was also just a few blocks from the brine injection well.
This source is much longer but pretty much suggests the same conclusion, that natural gas drilling is increasing the chance of an earthquake. The first quake at the drilling site near Lancashire, England on April 1st was a 2.3 tremor. The second one was recorded on May 27th was a 1.5 magnitude quake, which is lower than the first but caused all the drilling to be suspended. The drilling companies said it was a "freak event" that only happened when the process disturbed a fault line, want to start the drilling again. They are currently going through a process of deciding whether or not drilling will start again.
My opinion on the whole thing is that we can't ignore the earthquakes any longer and we have to come to the conclusion that fracking is directly associated with these reported quakes. The drilling companies should be responsible for any damages caused by these quakes and should have to research more into where to drill and where not to. However I think like most of the time, money and profits will win out and the process of drilling for natural gas will continue in England and Ohio. Unless there is a major earthquake that causes tremendous damage there isn't enough yet to scare these companies away. Also it is a lot better for the US and England to be producing energy on their own rather than having to import it. In this video, the CEO of Chesapeake Energy claims that we have twice as much shale gas in the US than they have oil in Saudi Arabia. The England article also claimed that they have discovered 200 trillion cubic feet of gas, which 10% of it could last the UK over six years.
So we have to make a judgment call on what's better for us right now and for the future, cheaper energy with the risk of earthquakes or importing energy for a much higher cost.
Question to the Class: At what point do you think we should say enough is enough? Say you were in placed in charge of deciding when to call it quits. Would you wait until a major earthquake, or you cut them off now knowing because the risks are higher than the rewards?
--Pratik Patel

No comments:

Post a Comment