June 29, 2012

Royal Society: Fracking Can Be Undertaken Safely

Report of the Royal Academy of Engineering:

"There has been much speculation around the safety of shale gas extraction following examples of poor practice in the US. We found that well integrity is of key importance but the most common areas of concern, such as the causation of earthquakes with any significant impact or fractures reaching and contaminating drinking water, were very low risk.

This is not to say hydraulic fracturing is completely risk-free. Strong regulation and robust monitoring systems must be put in place and best practice strictly enforced if the Government is to give the go-ahead to further exploration. In particular, we emphasise the need for further development and support of the UK's regulatory system, together with Environmental Risk Assessments for all shale gas operations and more extensive inspections and testing to ensure the integrity of every well."

(Via Ars Technica.)

This is in line with a study conducted here in the US. It's great news if true, because the US is sitting on the some of the largest reserves of natural gas on Earth. Economic recovery of natural gas could help along the transition from oil for energy production, reducing our dependance on foreign production and improving air quality from its use.