The economy of the USA is suffering from one of its biggest bouts of the evils of socialism in history. Despite this it is forging ahead, creating jobs, growing its economy and generating wealth. This conundrum is answered by one immense revolution to their economy, fracking for hydrocarbon fuels. The USA has rapidly become the largest natural gas producer in the world. The economic impact is immense and, had their economy been better managed, they would be leading a world economic boom.
Fracking was invented in 1947, and first commercialised in 1949. By 2012, 2.5 million fracking operations had been performed around the world on oil and gas wells. It has already been used in over 200 British onshore oil and gas wells since the early 1980s, without anyone noticing. It is simply a procedure to crack the deep subterranean rocks to get more hydrocarbons out. It makes otherwise uneconomic wells economic and vastly improves the efficiency with which mankind uses the earth’s resources.
We should now be organising in the UK to use fracking for all our carbon fuel needs. The reserves are incredible. A British Geological Survey estimate predicts around 40 trillion cubic metres of shale gas in northern England alone. If just a tenth of the UK’s shale reserves were used we would be powered for the next half century.
Let’s look at some of the facts:
- Burning gas creates far less atmospheric carbon than burning coal or oil. By switching rapidly to fracked gas we would far more easily meet our obligations under the Kyoto protocol and Doha amendment. In the USA as energy consumption switched to natural gas from coal, carbon emissions dropped to their lowest point in nearly two decades.
- Everything we buy or do in our society contains hydrocarbon energy. Fracked energy is very cheap indeed, so the benefit will be felt in the cost of everything that we do.
- The wealth generated will benefit the whole of society, as it is doing in the USA. It will create lots of jobs and give us the economic headroom to increase wages across the board, due to the jump in our international competitiveness.
- Fracked gas would replace expensive, imported, gas and oil. Greatly improving our balance of payments.
- Fracking would massively increase government revenue, just as North Sea oil once did. We desperately need this revenue in order to pay off the deficit and then to reduce income and corporate taxes.
- We would gain energy security, not be dependent on the whims of the highly unpredictable Mr Putin or the stability of a fractious Middle East. UK’s net energy dependency is now at 46%, the highest for decades. Half of Britain’s coal is now imported from Russia.
- Whist fracking can create seismic activity this can be managed. And the UK has experienced hundreds of years of such low scale activity from coal mining. For instance since December 2013, there have been 93 small coal mine related earthquakes in and around New Ollerton in Nottinghamshire. Fracking causes far lower levels of seismic activity.
- Of all energy resources fracked gas has one of the lowest environmental impacts. No slag heaps, no unsightly windmills or solar farms, no huge oil rigs dotting the sea.
- The USA EPA, who are on the side of the environment, concluded that there are “no proven cases where the fracking process itself has affected water”. And recent research by the University of Texas at Austin, the biggest to date, states that previous guesses of the quantity of methane emitted at fracking sites were vastly overstated. Using proper “completion” plant “reduces methane emissions by 99%”. So the UK Luddites, eco freaks and NIMBYs are telling you lies and want to harm the nation. Obviously the Russians and Arabs are running a big propaganda war against fracking which the hard of thinking are taken in by. Here are the SCIENTIFIC FACTS for anyone who is interested.
As a nation we incredibly blessed to have this bountiful harvest. We should manage it with care and use the riches to create a better society for all.