|a community led website|
|What is fracking?|
'Fracking' refers to 'hydraulic fracturing', a process used to break open rock after a well has been drilled for natural gas or oil.
High volumes of water combined with various chemicals are pumped under high pressure down the bore hole through perforations in to the rock. Sand particles are injected as well to keep fractures open and allow the gas or oil to flow more readily.
Fracking uses significant amounts of water and most recently in Blackpool 8,400,000 litres of water were used during the exploration phase which would equate to 840 HGV lorry movements through our village.
This volume of water is required for each bore hole and whilst a typical drill pad would accommodate ten bore holes on some super sized drill pads up to 40 bore holes are sunk.
Whilst it has been stated that 'fracking' has taken place in Sussex in the 80's and in the USA since the 1950's. They neglect to mention that previous attempts were only to the vertical bore and involved comparatively low volumes of water. DECC have confirmed that there is only one other example of 'fracking' in the UK at Preese Hall in Lancashire which caused seismic activity and the suspension of all exploratory works for a period of time.
Some recent reports loosely suggested that fracked gas will mean lower energy prices.’ This suggestion has been dismissed by various economists, bankers, OFGEN, emminent researchers including Oxford University and even Cuadrilla because they believe that the UK is part of a European free market and any price differential achieved would be needed to create the infrastructure necessary to transfer the gas / oil
Similarly, David Cameron stated that fracking will create 74 000 local UK jobs.’ However, DECC advisors AMEC predict only one third of that figure. but with 90% of fracking jobs being specialised workers will come largely from abroad, peaking at drilling time.
A more worrying inaccurate myth is that ‘UK regulations are strong and effective.’ This statement is untrue. Our regulations were never strong, and are being slackened. Environment Agency (EA) staff are being cut by 15%. The industry self-monitors. The EA relies mainly on a reassuring Friday afternoon fax from Cuadrilla.
‘It all happens so deep down that nothing can migrate’. Gas and fluid frequently leak up the outside of wells. Natural faults can act as conduits (and Balcombe’s geology is heavily faulted). Our Balcombe oil is so shallow that even a man-made fracture could reach the aquifer, according to a study by the University of Durham.