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Fracking, the myths, the facts, the reality Tuesday 21st January 2014

This often controversial subject was presented by John Midwinter who gave a well-balanced talk designed to make you think about whether fracking is a good idea or not. The talk started with a description of what shale gas is and under what geological circumstances it is to be found. The main areas of potential drilling in the UK where identified along with the areas in the united states of America where fracking has taken place to extract shale gas. The talk moved on to the method of extracting shale gas where holes are drilled vertically then horizontally and injected with high pressure water mixed with sand and chemicals to locally fracture the rocks and permit the extraction of the shale gas contained within. The experience within the US was discussed, how long a fracking well can be exploited typically only being around 3 years, the area over which one well can extract gas and how many wells tend to be required to fully exploit a shale gas field. The energy balance was considered with regards to how much energy is expended to obtain the energy within the shale gas and this compared with other forms of energy both green and traditional fossil fuel. The environmental impacts of fracking were explored including pollution of the water table and earth tremors. The talk rounded off with an interesting question and answer session.

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