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Natural Gas and Horizontal Shale Drilling April 27, 2011

Posted by Jill S. Schneiderman in fracking, natural gas, Precautionary Principle, shale.
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Here’s a link to a short video from the American Petroleum Institute about hydrofracking of ‘tight’ shales in order to release and collect natural gas. I have not as much time as I would like to write about this video and I hope to do so in the future. The small point I would like to make is that though this video is designed to reassure the viewer that the technology is safe, I do not react to it that way. I watch this video and feel sad.

I think we must pay attention to lingo used by engineers when it comes to these so-called advanced technologies. Engineers and the public relations people who work with them come up with terms that attempt to make something terribly complex and uncertain seem simple and sure. Perforating rock by using explosive materials inserted deep into the earth is called “perfing”; Fracturing fine-grained rock that has lithified over millions of years is called “fracking’. The gas that is released is collected by a permanent well-head device called a “Christmas tree.” They make it sound not only simple but benign but to me this seems a good moment to practice the precautionary principle.