MyNews24 is a user-generated section of The stories here come from users.

Comments: 17
Article views: 760
Latest Badges:

View all Atheitis's badges.

Why I am concerned about fracking

23 June 2014, 12:48

Let me make it clear from the off, I am not a qualified engineer or chemist but a layman who reads as widely as possible in order to arrive at an opinion. I am also pragmatic and can be swayed to change my views in the light of new, more reliable information and evidence. What follows is my current assessment of fracking but I remain open to counter arguments.

The South African government appears to have caved in to pressure by international energy companies (been bribed) to permit hydraulic fracking to exploit claimed huge reserves of natural gas under the Karoo. Claims are made about the benefits of exploiting the resource including the the creation of many thousands of jobs in a sparsely populated area principally used for agriculture and sheep farming in particular. The area is very arid with little rainfall so farmers and local communities are dependent upon underground water which is found throughout the area and which can be tapped by boreholes.

According the Wikipedia:

Hydraulic fracturing is the fracturing of rock by a pressurized liquid. Some hydraulic fractures form naturally—certain veins or dikes are examples. Induced hydraulic fracturing is a mining technique in which a high-pressure liquid fluid (usually water mixed with sand and chemicals) is injected to a well bore in order to create small fractures (usually less than 1.0 mm wide) in the deep-rock formations in order to allow natural gas, petroleum, and brine to migrate to the well. When the hydraulic pressure is removed from the well, small grains of hydraulic fracturing proppants (either sand or aluminium oxide) hold open the small fractures once the deep rock achieves geologic equilibrium. “

If I understand that correctly, it involves drilling a deep bore hole and then pumping, under enormous pressure, large amounts of water laced with a cocktail of chemicals (the fracking companies are coy about revealing what chemicals) and sand into the hole to crack rock and release stores of gas, petroleum and brine. They are going to drill these holes and pump the chemicals deep underground through the Karoo aquifers.

Man, that sets off some big alarm bells for me.

So where will the fracking water come from?

Surely the fracking companies cannot be allowed to exploit the existing scarce ground water resources for the process? This is a finite resource accumulated over millions of years. The farms and the local towns that are dependent upon it. And if they are not permitted to use that water then are they going to carry out the mad idea I heard suggested to pump sea water into the Karoo for fracking. WTF is going to happen to all that chemically polluted sea water when they have finished with it. Dump it underground? Pump it back into the Indian ocean?

How can fracking not pollute the groundwater?

The Earth's crust is not stable but subject to thermal convection as heat rises from the interior. Then there are Earth movements. View the Karoo with Google Earth and display earthquake data. Like everywhere else, the Karoo is subject to earth movements and earthquakes. Inevitably the chemicals pumped underground (and the sea water?), the released gases and petroleum products are going to come into contact with and pollute the aquifers. There can be no escaping the fact that fracking will pollute the Karoo ground water. And when the fracking companies have exhausted the resource and the politicians they have bribed have long disappeared the country and future generations will suffer the consequences.

One only has to see what has happened in the Witwatersrand gold fields for the precedent. An undermined area, supported by millions of rotting wooden pit props immersed in ever increasing and rising levels of acid polluted ground water, peppered with abandoned and open mine shafts, toxic slimes dams and dumps. The companies who exploited the resource and made their fortunes have long since gone and the current and future inhabitants have been left to deal with the ecological time bomb that has been left behind.

How many jobs will really be created?

Fracking is a mechanised, not labour intensive process. Sure some jobs will be created directly at the wells and then there will be some transport, provisioning and engineering supply jobs. The resultant gas is not going to be supplied at less than World going rates just as Sasol supplies petrol at World going rates.

I just cannot see the benefits of investing billions to exploit this resource when such billions could otherwise be invested in alternative and more environmentally friendly methods of providing energy and in other, more productive, job creation activities.

Here are some links about the impact of fracking. Whether they are based on emotion or facts, on balance there is no doubt that that fracking does have huge environmental impacts and that the energy companies are are not coming clean about it.

Texas is fracked: More than 30 towns will soon be out of water

Frackers kill endangered US fish


A must view and very concerning documentary on the impact of frackign the the USA

The scary thing is that our venal politicians will willingly accept the energy companies' silver and could not give a stuff about environment for some claimed short term gain.

Now tell me why I am wrong.

Disclaimer: All articles and letters published on MyNews24 have been independently written by members of News24's community. The views of users published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24. News24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.

Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Read more from our Users

Submitted by
Thulane Che Trosky637
IEC chair appointed

The Appointment of the Chairperson to the Independent Electoral Commission. Read more...

0 comments 74 views
Submitted by
Anil Sumaraj
What Opposition, Government Must ...

An incompetent government should not try to pull the wool over our eyes. Read more...

1 comments 95 views
Submitted by
In reply to Max du Preez

Hey Max, howya doin'? Let me start right up front - I agree with you, South Africa is NOT a failed state. I was in Zimbabwe a couple of weeks ago, and I have seen what a failed state looks like, first-hand, and it's not us. Read more...

15 comments 2622 views
Submitted by
Fadi Elhusseini
The Charlie Effect: What's next?

Are we witnessing a harbinger of a religious war? Is it the beginning of a new violent era that may not spare any nation? What is that radicalism wants to achieve by committing such acts? Why is this happening? And is there a solution? Read more...

6 comments 185 views
Submitted by
Hlengiwe Binda Ntimba
Random thoughts about my situatio...

When we finish school we are expected to get a job. And what getting a job seems to mean is joining another institution.  Read more...

0 comments 359 views
Submitted by
Christian Thinker
Hell. Atheism's worst Excuse.

Are you one if those that reject Christianity because of the doctrine of hell? Read more...

64 comments 778 views


E-mail Alerts The latest headlines in your inbox

RSS feeds News delivered really simply.

Mobile News24 on your mobile or PDA

E-mail Newsletters You choose what you want

News24 on your iPhone Get News24 headlines on your iPhone.

SMS Alerts Get breaking news stories via SMS.

Blogs Your opinion on you, me and everyone.

Calais Website keywords automated by OpenCalais.

Interactive Advertising Bureau
© 2015 All rights reserved.
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.