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Hydraulic Fracturing is the process of natural gases and oils extraction from the Earth by drilling down into the ground layers before a pressurized water mixture is directed at the rock. This mixture permits for the release of the gas inside. Fracking is extensively used in the world due to great deposits of oil shales. The list of the countries with the biggest amount of shale oil and gas resources comprises the USA, Russia, China, Australia, Argentina and others. As the amount of natural minerals is decreasing, nowadays, people rely upon hydraulic fracturing because it could potentially provide the world with energy for decades to come. Some people believe that fracking could be a proper solution to the problem of energy shortages. The process begins with drilling a large hole, called a wellbore. The wellbore is then cemented and sealed from ground water. The drill is moving in a vertical direction until it reaches about 3000 metres deep. Then it turns at a 90-degree angle and moves horizontally for another 1500 metres through a layer of black sediment which is called a shale rock formation. Then the perforating gun is lowered into the tube, and a lot of holes in the rock formation are created by it. After that a liquid mixture is pumped into the wellbore at a very high pressure causing the rock open split through the holes. The pumped liquid mixture consists of water (95%) and highly dangerous chemicals, such as Sodium hydroxide and Magnesium peroxide, which are extremely toxic and corrosive and can cause serious health problems for both animals and humans. Sometimes the mixture contains Hydrochloric acid which is also very corrosive and causes severe skin burning and damage to organs when ingested. In addition, sand is used in the mixture to keep the cracks open and allow oil and gas flow up to the surface. Taking into account that the chemicals used in the solution are dangerous, the proportions of the liquid mixture components must be well-calculated and precise, in order to avoid damage to the environment and people’s health. Furthermore, if the solution contains too much clay or sand, it prevents the gas and oil from being extracted, making the process useless and, this way, raising the costs of the companies. Due to the fact that the fracking process is used almost on all the continents, one might think that it could solve some economic and environmental problems. Having great deposits of oil shales, the humanity could be provided with energy for many years in the future, thus, avoiding economic crisis in the sphere of energy. The access to more gas and oil on the territory of a certain country, like the USA or Great Britain, helps reduce the dependence on import. It is one of the economic benefits.  Another issue to support hydraulic fracturing might be the creation of workplaces, therefore, making the population more financially stable. If to look at fracking from the environmental point of view, this process may present us an opportunity to generate electricity at half the CO2 emissions of coal, this way, reducing the degree of air pollution, which, in its turn, may lead to wildlife and people’s health preservation. Although the process of hydraulic fracturing has only been in use a short period of time, it has become a great controversial argument among people all over the world with its pros and cons. If to speak about the positive tendency of reduced air pollution due to dropped CO2 emissions, it might look favourable for people and nature. For instance, in 2008, in the USA, the percentage of electricity generating by coal burning was decreased by 13% (dropping from 50%) and the use of natural gas was increased up to 20%. The electrical power was made up of 50% coal burning, that number dropped by 13% four years later and natural gas usage rose to 20%. Everybody would agree that it could be a great advantage towards cleaning the air. However, this fact might not be so reassuring, because methane gas is released as the result of drilling. Gradually, this gas concentrates in the air displaying the oxygen needed for breathing. So, this situation illustrates the risk for people living in the area of fracking.However, the process of hydraulic fracturing can be harmful for water resources. For example, in order to be provided with water, a well needs 4,500 to 13,200 m3. When wells are refractured, they need even more water. To provide an average well with water during its lifetime, 11,000 to 30,000 m3 is required. As soon as the shale depths in Europe are 1,5 times greater than in the USA, the wells there use greater volumes of water. In addition, the chemicals used in fracking are dangerous for nature and people’s health – they are potentially carcinogenic – and their spillage contaminates groundwater and surface around the site. According to a 2017 study made in the American Economic Review, if the additional wells are drilled within 1 kilometer of a community water system, it raises shale gas-related contaminants in drinking water, thus, bringing harm to people’s health. Water recycling could help, but actually it is not able to eliminate all the negative effects of fracking. Therefore, hydraulic fracturing wastes the water supply on the local level increasing the costs for the inhabitants of the area. One more thing should be taken into account, that is, the land. In order to install the drilling equipment on the ground, about 3.6 hectares (8.9 acres) of land is needed for each drill pad. The supporting structure construction splits the landscape which can cause negative effects on wildlife. As the result of the extraction of gas and oil from under the ground, the empty spaces appear there, raising worries among population about small earth tremors. For example, in 2011 there were two earthquakes in Great Britain. Due to them the government of the country banned fracking for several years. However, in 2014 the process was renewed. This experience was copied by some other countries, though only in the part of banning. In 2011 it was done in France, in 2012 – in the RSA and Bulgaria, in 2013 – in the Netherlands. Although providing many benefits for the economy of certain countries giving people the access to more natural resources and creating more workplaces, the fracking process cannot solve the main energy problem, that is to have renewable energy. At the same time, it brings harm to the environment and people, contaminating air, ground and surface water, using a lot of land for the equipment. For this reason, hydraulic fracturing should be banned, as it was done in many countries, to avoid serious problems with pollution of the planet. People should look for better, not so dangerous ways to sustain us with energy and preserve the environment.

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