What is Fracking?

Fracking is extreme fossil fuel extraction.  It’s short for ‘Hydraulic Fracturing’, a form of unconventional oil and gas development.

High Volume Hydraulic Fracturing

shale gas fracking figureFluid is used to fracture rock in order to extract oil or gas.  The fluid is a mixture of water, chemicals and sand.  Fracking is used on shale rock, which is deep in East Yorkshire, about 3km.  Shale rock is not very permeable, so the gas doesn’t flow through it.  This means a conventional well won’t work in the shale formation, and fracking is the only way to extract the gas.  Wells are drilled vertically down, and then horizontally to get at more shale.  Millions of gallons of frack fluid is injected and pumped to extreme pressure, until the rock fractures open.  Sand particles prop open the cracks so gas can flow into the well.

Because shale is so impermeable, and the process is so difficult, fracking requires a huge number of wells.  East Yorkshire would require several thousand wells to extract the amount of gas that companies and the government say they want, and we’re in a northern sacrifice zone.

Everywhere the extreme fossil fuel industry goes communities suffer similar impacts, including:

  • air pollution: smells, noxious gas leaks and fugitive emissions
  • water contamination
  • serious health impacts on humans and animals
  • industrialisation of the countryside on a massive scale
  • a big increase in heavy traffic
  • noise
  • light pollution and gas flaring
  • over extraction of fresh water
  • dangerous working conditions
  • road damage from trucks and subsidence
  • a fall in house prices
  • abandoned wells leaking
  • earthquakes
  • climate change

The evidence for these impacts is growing and strengthening all the time.
The more people learn about fracking, the more people oppose it.

Read on to get informed.