UK fracking won’t fill the energy gap
Fracking hype in the UK may be just that. Laws have been changed to make it easier for petroleum corporations to shatter the shale beds to extract the oil or gas held in the rocks. People have been told that the sacrifice of land and water to facilitate this extraction is for the common good, that it will make the UK self-sufficient in natural gas. Prices will remain as is or be reduced.
A credible report from the University of Sussex challenges that assertion. Published in The UK’s Global Gas Challenge, the report points out that the year 2000 was the last year that the UK was self-sufficient in natural gas. As the fields in the North Sea diminished their productivity, the UK gradually increased its dependence on foreign suppliers. Now about 50% of the natural gas that the UK uses comes from Norway and Qatar.
The US has led the world in fracking to obtain natural gas. Canada has followed suit. There has been a large increase in the supply of natural gas, but it has been accompanied with much controversy. It has been sold to the populations there as the way to make the countries self-sufficient in energy supplies. Liquified natural gas(LNG) is being exported from the US. There is no doubt that many people have been employed in the industry. Some states are enjoying an economic surge as money is poured into the local coffers. But like many resource “rushes”, the end may come to an abrupt end.
America’s shale gas resources and reserves have been grossly exaggerated and today’s level of shale gas production is unsustainable. In fact, due the distortions of zero interest rates and other factors, an enormous shale gas bubble has developed. Like all bubbles, this one will pop sooner than expected and when it does, the aftermath will be very unpleasant. Forbes
Inextricably tied to the shale fracturing industry, is the water each well requires to hydraulically break the shale beds. On average about two to four million gallons of water for each well. That water is mixed with toxic chemicals and becomes an environmental hazard. As fresh water becomes an increasingly important environmental factor, water conflicts may increase as fracking continues.
When all the costs of fracking are added up, the price of cheap gas may be too high for the people to pay.