Don't Frack the World
By Chris Landau
Fracking is about drinking oily water, more earthquakes, gas explosions and polluted lands and inedible crops.
Fracking is CRACKING AND FRACTIONAL DISTILLATION of carbonaceous shale and coal in the Earth.
Fracking is polluting our well and spring water and it will increase earthquakes wherever it is done.
Fracking is not about worrying about what chemicals they put in. It is about worrying about what the released oil and gas is doing to our health, our children's lives and our lands and crops.
What is Fracking? Fracking or FRACTIONAL DISTILLATION is the chemical conversion of carbonaceous shale and coal to gas and oil by CRACKING (breaking long chain hydrocarbons, cyclohexanes and aromatics into shorter carbon chains like methane, propane, pentanes decanes) and then fractionally distilling, (the separation of these shorter chain compounds by density and boiling points into various chemical compounds).
Normally this is done in a large industrial chemical refinery plant, where all the compounds from crude oil are separated into the lighter fractions, the heavier oils and finally, the waxes, greases and tar or asphalt solid fractions. It is a controlled environment where leakage is kept to a minimum.
Releasing hydrocarbons on a large scale like in The Gulf Oil Spill, results in fines and bad publicity. So what is the oil and gas industry doing?
Instead of digging coal or carbonaceous shale out of the ground, crushing it and separating it in a in a Chemical Fractionation Distillation plant, the oil and gas industry are separating it in the earth on site (in situ) and just taking out the lighter fractions of gas and oil. The longer chain waxes and greases, tars and aromatics that will not break down are being left behind in the Earth.
You may ask, what is wrong with that?
There are three major problems in this uncontrolled high pressure chemical conversion of the solid hydrocarbons that are close to the surface.
1) Ground water and spring water pollution by liquid hydrocarbons.
When the drilling industry applies hydraulic pressure and chemicals to the carbonaceous shales and coals, not only do they break and chemically convert these formations, they break up the surrounding rock which acted to keep the liquid and gas volatiles beneath the surface. Now being lighter than water the natural gas and liquids, make their way to the surface though the different layers of rock and soil, contaminating each groundwater horizon until these hydrocarbons get pumped out of our wells or make their way out in springs into our rivers.
Fracking is not only done in deep wells but where it is most harmful is when it is done on the shallow carbonaceous shale and coal layers. These layers are often within our groundwater horizons or just below it, as the coal and carbonaceous shale layers are not deep down as with conventional oil and gas wells.