The benefits of hydraulic fracturing in terms of job creation and meeting energy demands have been drastically exaggerated, while the consequences of the controversial practice could prove cataclysmic, geopolitical commentator Ian Crane told RT.
RT: You used to work in the oil industry yourself: what is it that makes fracking worse than the other extraction techniques of oil and gas?
Ian Crane: What we’re talking about primarily here is the extraction of shale gas from unconventional geology. This is a very different technology, a very different technique from the usual process of extracting from conventional reservoirs.
The gas has to be extracted from what is known as tight geology. That’s a very good description, because it means that the geology is compact; it’s very difficult to drill through, and there’s very low porosity and permeability in that geology.
Consequently, the geology has to be opened, porosity and permeability has to be created, and this is done through high pressure, high volume hydraulic fracturing with literally millions of gallons of water – and primarily this is fresh water – mixed with a very toxic recipe of chemicals.
So what we’re talking about here is a number of issues. We’re talking about a phenomenal use of fresh water, which, once the chemicals are added, is lost to the system.
RT: The companies that are doing this, do they actually have governments behind them? Do they know what’s going on, are they with the companies?
IC: Of course the governments are supporting it, in fact it’s a government/industry driven agenda. What we’re seeing around the world is people reacting against this. The reality is that everywhere in the world, where this process has been put into use, it has resulted in the contamination of the water, of soil and of the air. When the governments and industry are promoting their shale gas agenda, they conveniently leave out the evidence that this is an abomination.
RT: But we’re talking about job creation here as well, with these companies there is that aspect of things. Should the public put job creation above everything else as we are in tough economic times right now?
IC: I think the thing that should be put above everything else is the protection of the water supply. Because if we don’t have access to fresh water, we’re talking about the potential end of all life. As for the jobs and as for the gas…at what price? The end of ecology or the end of life on earth as we know it?
In recent days actually, in the Financial Times – it was two days
ago – a report was published that stated categorically that
government estimates in terms of the number of jobs that this
industry would create are grossly exaggerated. The likelihood is
that maybe over the next 20 years, some 10-15,000 jobs may be
created, which is actually minute.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.