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Plausible Solution to Environmental Threats Posed by Hydraulic Fracturing in

Shale Gas Extraction


Aamir Ahmed1, Girish Joshi2, M. Aditya3, Palash Aglawe4

Abstract

Since industrial revolution, our energy consumption has risen unceasingly. The increasing gap between supply and demand
has dwelled the world to explore and develop unconventional resources of gas. With the start of this century shale gas has
been a major success in bridging this gap. Though shale gas might seem to be an affordable, abundant and clean source of
energy but it comes with a price. Shale gas is extracted with a combined technology of horizontal drilling and hydraulic
fracturing. Hydraulic Fracturing involves drilling and injecting fluid into ground at high pressure in order to fracture shale
rocks to release natural gas inside. There are various environmental threats associated with this process. Primarily there is
a risk of contamination of water tables due to chemicals added. Also a rise of methane in the ground water has been
recorded near fracturing sites. Approximately 700 different chemicals are used in hydraulic fracturing and some of them are
extremely toxic and some even carcinogenic. Another risk is the release of greenhouse gases. About 3% of recovered gas
escapes into the atmosphere. But since there is currently no substitute to fracking and bridging the energy gap is also
necessary keeping environment a priority. This paper presents cost effective technologies that supports safe and
environmentally responsible hydraulic fracturing operations. Electric powered fracturing and water treatment techniques
have been discussed on technical and economical aspects in this paper. The paper tries to find solutions to optimize
hydraulic fracturing for environment without compensating efficiency.