It’s a controversial topic, but it’s highly relevant.
Shale gas is a natural gas found in rocks from deep underground. The gas is extracted through a process called hydraulic fracturing, commonly called ‘fracking’ or ‘hydrofracking’.
To extract the gas, water, chemicals, and sand are pumped into a well to unlock hydrocarbons that are trapped in shale formations. This opens cracks (fractures) in the rock and allows natural gas to flow from the shale into the well.
Shale oil and gas is extracted for the purpose of keeping energy affordable and to cut down the consumption of dirtier coal. It’s a low-priced, highly competitive alternative to both wind and nuclear power.
But if you’ve been paying attention for the last decade, you’ll know that this process has some very real and controversial side effects.
The practice of fracking has been proven to have incredibly toxic and detrimental consequences to the environment, throwing fuel on the fire of climate change and pollution rates.
Frack Off, the group leading the charge against fracking in the UK, stress that the extraction of shale gas leads to lethal, radioactive water pollution — tap water you can light on fire.
It’s a practice that could run out quickly and leave irreversible damage.
This stunning reality went viral in 2010 in the documentary Gasland, when director Josh Fox created a widespread awareness on the consequences of fracking, creating conversation I’m sure you’ve heard of by now.
Activists argue some things should stay underground.
However, shale gas production is rising quickly in the US — it now accounts for a quarter of the country’s natural gas extraction.
Fracking also occurs largely in China and the UK. France and Bulgaria have banned fracking procedures due to the abovementioned environmental concerns.
Shale Oil in Australia
Although shale oil and gas has taken off in the US, hydraulic fracturing hasn’t become as big in Australia.
Why? There’s a lot of environmental red tape for us to overcome.
But if it ever does happen, it could offer one of the most explosive investment opportunities in history.
The US Energy Information Administration estimates that Australia could have up to 396 trillion cubic feet in shale gas resources.
That’s equivalent to about 185 years of total Australian gas production at current rates.
Fracking is a topic no stranger to controversy, but it’s an important issue to keep up with.
Read on for the latest analysis and news on shale oil and gas.