A film by Cameron Esler and Tadzio Richards
About Hydraulic Fracturing "Fracking"
What is Shale Gas?
Shale gas is a growing source of natural gas in North America and is considered to be a greener alternative to oil and coal. There’s a lot of interest in potential gas shale deposits in Canada. Some believe that shale gas could supply as much as half the natural gas production in North America by 2020. Shale gas is already being extracted in many areas of the USA and Alberta while huge new deposits have found in Quebec where a fierce debate is raging. Shale gas has also been found in in British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Ontario and Nova Scotia. The resource could mean new revenues for governments and new jobs as the technology — injecting water, sand and chemicals under intense pressure into rock formations to crack them and liberate the gas — makes the energy source economically viable to extract.
However, shale gas exploration and its impact on the environment and human health is controversial. Environmentalists and residents living near gas exploration sites are concerned that gas could leak into groundwater during the extraction process. Water contamination is the biggest fear for people living in areas where hydraulic fracturing is used to extract shale gas.
What is Hydraulic Fracturing?
Hydraulic fracturing or fracking is a means of natural gas extraction employed in deep natural gas well drilling. Once a well is drilled, millions of gallons of water, sand and proprietary chemicals are injected, under high pressure, into a well. The pressure fractures the coal bed and ‘fractures’ open fissures that enable natural gas to flow out of the well.
What’s the difference between the Shale Gas issue in Quebec and the North Eastern US and the Coal Bed issue in Alberta?
The ‘Fracking’ process is exactly the same; the possible implications (polluting under water aquifers or wells) are the same. The only difference is the type of rock. In Quebec, shale is the rock being drilled into (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shale) and in Alberta they are drilling into coal (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coal)