Energy  |  Publications  |  12.09.2012

Video: The risks of Fracking and Shale Gas

This video calling on a ban on fracking and shale gas in Europe is part of a campaign by the Greens/EFA “Stop Climate Change” group. The video raises awareness of the inherent risks of shale gas exploitation through fracking techniques and proposes renewable sources as alternatives for securing Europe’s energy independence.

Shale gas is a form of unconventional gas. To extract it from the shale, horizontal drilling techniques and hydraulic fracturing, known as fracking, are required. In this process millions of liters of water, sand and chemicals are injected at a high pressure, fracture the rock and release the gas. Once the hydraulic fracturing process is completed a large amount of the initial fracturing fluids are mixed with waste produced by the fracking. This rises to the surface where it is collected. The recovered fluid is known as ‘flowback’ or ‘waste water’.

At the moment, the only country in the world exploiting this resource is the US. According to a study conducted by the Environmental Investigation Agency in 2011, European countries with the greatest potential for shale gas are Poland, France, Norway, Sweden, Ukraine, the UK, the Netherlands and Germany.

Risks pointed out by the Campaign 

The Greens/EFA group in the European Parliament and the European Green Party have decided to join force with several European NGOs and local communities to warn European citizens and decision-makers about the real dangers that the extraction of shale gas represents. The campaign points out some high risks of fracking and shale gas exploitation; 

  • Shale gas extraction is a high-risk activity; activities that can have a devastating impact on health and the local environment.
  • Wasting water; fracking requires an enormous amount of fresh water, each fracking operation can use around 19 million liters  of water.
  • Toxic waste fluid; each frack pumps 80-300 tons of toxic chemicals into the earth, including volatile organic compounds, plasticizers and petro-chemicals. 
  • Radioactive elements and heavy metals; Radioactive elements and heavy metals are dislodged from deep underground, and carried to the surface by the fracking process.
  • Shale Gas is another high-carbon energy source and by exploiting it, we will be locked into a fossil fuel economy for decades, undermining the renewable energy industry.
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