Fracking: A contentious issue with an uncertain future

In the US, fracking has created an oil and gas revolution. It has created jobs and led to greater energy independence. However, the process has many strong opponents who say that the environmental risks are not worth it. This debate has led to several communities and two states in the US to ban fracking. In Europe, fracking is banned in France and has been restricted in the UK.

Scope

  • Fracking is controversial. This case study examines claims that fracking wastes water, causes earthquakes, and leaks methane.
  • Despite the shale oil and gas revolution in the US, some states and cities have rejected the practice. This case study looks at where and why.
  • Fracking has been banned in some countries in Europe, with strict regulations added to others. This is looked at in detail in the case study.
  • This case study also looks at how and why oil prices have changed over the last year, and what effects this might have on the fracking industry.

Reasons to buy

What is fracking? What are the advantages and disadvantages of it?

How has fracked oil and gas affected the US? Why have some states banned the practice?

How has the outlook for the UK fracking industry changed over the last couple of years?

Why have oil prices fallen in the last year?

Companies mentioned

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Table of Contents

OVERVIEW

Catalyst

Summary

THE BENEFITS OF SHALE GAS, A FOSSIL FUEL, ARE DEBATED

Fossil fuels are cheap but unsustainable

Shale gas is obtained by fracking ...

OVERVIEW

Catalyst

Summary

THE BENEFITS OF SHALE GAS, A FOSSIL FUEL, ARE DEBATED

Fossil fuels are cheap but unsustainable

Shale gas is obtained by fracking

Fracking is controversial, and has a number of opponents and proponents

Fracking is a drain on water sources

Fracking can leak chemically-treated water

Fracking can cause small earthquakes

Fracking releases methane, a greenhouse gas

Fracking can provide jobs and greater energy independence, as well as cut down on carbon emissions

FRACKING HAS BEEN BANNED OR RESTRICTED AROUND THE WORLD

Fracking has taken off in the US but remains controversial

The US has seen a shale gas revolution

The US is poised to become a net exporter of fracked gas

Fracking remains divisive, with many concerned about the practice

Comprehensive regulation of fracking is missing at both a federal and a state level

New York is one of two states to have banned fracking

Communities in various states have sought to ban fracking

The UK’s fracking industry has been restricted by ministers

Some parts of the government have been enthusiastic about shale gas

Labour's proposals may make the UK an unattractive prospect for drilling

France was the first country to ban fracking

PLUMMETING OIL PRICES HAVE AFFECTED FRACKING

Demand has outstripped supply in recent years, keeping oil prices at around $100 per barrel

A glut in supply has caused oil prices to crash, compounded by OPEC

The future of fracking is insecure, and may rest on if oil prices recover in the next few years

CONCLUSIONS

The contentious issue of fracking raises questions about its future

APPENDIX

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