The search for effective alternative ways to obtain and extract oil and gas commodities
has been an issue that increasingly worries industry professionals. The major subject
resides in the difficulty to preserve a balance in between a profitable performance and
responsible extraction practices.
A lot of research and engineering techniques like fracking have been designed with the
sole purpose to obtain fossil fuels with the lowest impact in the environment. The
technique known as hydraulic fracturing has become popular, and it consists in the
injection of water and other different chemical substances at high pressure into the
ground, releasing the gas that impregnates it and obtaining a lower extraction cost and
a good final product in places believed to lack energetic resources.
Despite its own performance and success, this emerging practice has met remarkable
opposition from many sectors and green activist groups.Fracking seems to present major environmental dangers, in particular, the leaks of natural gas, the contamination of underground bodies of water, increased earthquake risks, and the release of methane to the atmosphere, a greenhouse gas even more dangerous and toxic than carbon dioxide.
All of these reasons are enough to ask ourselves if we are prepared to develop a
responsible and eco-friendly use of fracking. Are we capable to overcome all of its
inherent drawbacks? Even better, is there a safer way to extract fossil fuels without
having a negative impact on our planet? Well, there are some alternatives.
Currently, we have developed a series of innovative techniques that would allow
extract gas to be exploited and reducing or eliminating water consumption at the same
time. In Situ combustion is one of them, consisting in the injection of pressured hot air
with the goal to expand and break the underground rocks, liberating gas to will
eventually burn and let the oil to separate from the inner minerals, ready to be
The In Situ procedure and other extraction practices are noticeably cleaner, more
effective than regular fracking and they have been adopted by many O&G producing
countries, however, it is important to consider first that they are not exactly cheap.This factor is the number one barrier that prevents them to be more accepted in the industry.
So, what is the best thing we could do about it? Many experts consider that in addition
to having controlled and responsible extractions is a key factor. However, right now
fracking is not offering that level of certainty. For that reason, at this point benefits
from the State are key when a company is deciding to implement cleaner extraction
practices. In concrete, tax cuts for companies working with greener alternatives seem
like a real valid and effective solution, especially considering the unpredictability of the
sector in general. On the other hand, the investment from companies in local
infrastructure and social development should be something to consider for
governments when applying these kinds of benefits.
Sustainable and clean energetic processes are tasks that need to be properly shared by
all groups and stakeholders involved.