Hydraulic Fracturing and the Environment Whitepaper - Analytical and Measuring Instruments

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Courtesy of Shimadzu Scientific Instruments Inc

The recovery of natural gas and oil from untraditional wells is necessary for the economic stability of the United States. Shale gas deposits are deep below the earth’s surface and recovery of gas is expensive and requires millions of gallons of water mixed with chemicals, known as 'fracking solution'. Most fracking solution stays underground or returns to the surface mixed with formation water, also known as production water. This article review the hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, industry in the U.S., with discussions on major components in “fracturing” fluids and how to analyze for them, and the potential environmental impact of fracking on water supplies.

Introduction

As powerful nations struggle to maintain power and smaller nations struggle to gain power, one of the major prizes upon which they keep their eye are oil and gas reserves. It is no secret that control of oil and gas reserves plays a major role in the economic and strategic future of any nation. We may not all realize the importance of fossil fuels in the global economy. While the burning of fossil fuel and subsequent release of carbon dioxide and other “greenhouse” gases has been linked to “climate change”, we must realize that fossil fuels, including coal, petroleum, and natural gas, are essentially energy and that our industrialized civilization depends upon the substitution of manual labor for mechanical power. Fossil fuels replace manpower in a variety of ways, from the diesel trucks that transport goods across the nation and the ships powered by fuel oil carrying merchandise across oceans, to the electricity used to cool and heat our houses and the tremendous amount of lubricants that turn our machines. 

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