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Fracking shale gas: what on earth is that all about?

Lecture

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The talk will trace the history of artificial fracturing of rocks from early times to the present boom in shale gas production in the USA. The economic advantages and the objections of the oppostion lobby in the UK will be examined.

Date and Time

26 March 2014 - 10:30-12:00

Location

Portsmouth, United Kingdom - icon_popup  (See map)

Organiser

Organised by the Solent local network.


About this event


The artificial fracturing of rocks to increase fluid flow began in biblical times (Numbers. Ch. 20 vv1-11). It has been used in the petroleum industry for over 60 years. Initially oil and gas production was increased from low permeability reservoirs by exploding dynamite down the borehole. More recently the same effect is achieved less dramatically by hydraulic fracturing: increasing the pump pressure of the drilling mud and injecting water, proppant beads and chemical solvents. This process fractures rock adjacent to the borehole, keeps the fractures open with the proppant and allows fluid (Oil, gas and water) to flow into the borehole, and thence to the surface.

In the USA gas has been produced from naturally fractured low permeability shale since 1821. Within the last 30 years hydraulic fracturing of shale has led to a boom in shale gas production, and a concomitant collapse in the price of energy. This has helped the USA out of recession, caused the closure of many coal fired power stations and a drop in carbon dioxide emissions. In Europe declining sources of conventional energy and the increasing cost of renewable energy, are leading to increasing energy prices. The energy shortage is being offset by shale gas and coal imported from the USA.

The hydraulic fracturing of shale is opposed by a violent opposition lobby. It is claimed that hydraulic fracturing may reactivate extinct volcanoes, pollute aquifers and surface waters, increase methane and carbon dioxide emissions, trigger earthquakes and cause flocks of dead birds to rain from the sky. The talk will address some of these objections.

Speaker


Professor Richard Selley
Emeritus Professor of Petroleum Geology at Imperial College, London

Programme


10:00 - Refreshments
10:30 - Lecture starts

Additional information


Contact: Solent Network Retired Members Section Secretary

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