One More Reason Fracking Is Bad

  • Tuesday, 01 July 2014 00:00

As if there aren't enough problems associated with fracking (ie: minor earthquakes, radioactive waste), the Wall Street Journal today reports that Bakken Shale drillers have been burning excessive natural gas that are a byproduct of hydraulic fracturing.

According to the report, drillers burned 10.3 billion cubic feet of natural gas (valued at $50 million) in April which in turn has degraded air quality in towns in North Dakota that are in close proximity to the oil wells.

One of the reasons for the execessive burning is a lack of infrastructure and regulation to capture the excessive natural gas. The North Dakota Industrial Commission is expected to announce today measures to limit the flaring of natural gas at existing wells, the report said.

The report added that, for comparitive purposes, Texas captures all but 1% of the natural gas produced as a result of crude oil production while North Dakota burns an alarming 30%.

A lack of infrastructure seems to be a common theme regarding the shale oil boom. Just last week, the Wall Street Journal reported that there isn't enough infrastructure domestically to process ultra-light shale oil (which comprises a significant quantity of shale oil produced) to gasoline. As such, ultra-light shale oil is set to be exported.

It seems as though there really aren't many great stories regarding the shale oil boom. From the damage its causing the environment to the fact that it's not going to lead us towards energy independence, one thing's clear : fracking is not the solution to our energy needs.