Hydraulic Fracking for natural gas- What are the local and national consequences

Hydraulic fracking is a widely recognized and important controversy not only in the UK but also around the world. Even though it started around the 1950s, its results and impact on the environment are not yet fully known. Increasing research and advances in technology have targeted fracking to attempt to minimise the impacts on the environment.

The purpose of this report was to investigate the local and national consequences of fracking in the UK, by looking at examples from other countries and reports that have been published on the topic.  This information will help to draw a conclusion on whether the UK should invest in fracking, or whether it should look at different options.  The reports looked at mainly focused on the environmental, economical and political aspects of this topic.

Overall, fracking was supported in the UK, however was in fact the least popular of all the main energy resources. The main reasons for support were the perception that fracking could offer cheaper gas prices, while there is also a view that fracking will give the UK greater energy security, while also creating jobs and boosting the economy.  On the other hand, fracking was also associated with water contamination and earthquakes, and there are underlying environmental issues present with the fracking process.  This is evident in the incidents that have occurred in the US where fracking is widespread, such as in Pennsylvania.

Introduction

Hydraulic fracturing, known commonly as fracking, is a process for extracting and obtaining the natural gas found in shale rock. This process has been applied since the 1950s, primarily in the United States. Originally, this process was applied in various forms, but now, after much development and advances in the field, it is very significant in producing shale gas, “a type of natural gas which is held in extremely dense rock formations.” [1]

“Natural gas is a fossil fuel formed when layers of buried plants and animals are exposed to intense heat and pressure over thousands of years. The energy that the plants originally obtained from the sun is stored in the form of carbon in natural gas. Natural gas is found in deep underground rock formations or associated with other hydrocarbon reservoirs in coal beds and as methane clathrates.”[2] This type of gas is usually found one to two kilometres below the earth surface, trapped in large shale rock formations, where long term subsidence has created space that is then filled by the gas.

However, shale rock has a low permeability, meaning only a small amount of fluid can flow to a drilled bore-hole.  Hydraulic fracking creates paths for the gas to flow out of the rock by increasing the permeability through water, sand and chemicals that are injected into the rock. This increases the amount of gas that can be extracted from a well, making it more commercially viable for a company to extract the gas. “Fracking makes it possible to produce oil and clean-burning natural gas in places where conventional technologies are ineffective.”[3]

The work concept of hydraulic fracking is almost the same with other drilling processes. “Hydraulic fracturing wells go far below underground aquifers, reaching approximately 6,000 feet under the earth’s surface. That’s almost the distance of four Empire State buildings stacked on top of each other.”[4]  “Fracking uses water pressure under tight controls to create fractures in rock that allow oil and natural gas to escape and flow up out of the ground.”[5] During the fracking process, “fracturing fluids” that consist of 99.5% water and sand, and 0.5% additives is pumped under high pressure down the well-bore.” The sand, called “proppant”, helps to expand and hold open the fissures, releasing the gas and allowing it to flow to the well-head where it is safely captured and stored.”[6] Simultaneously, the additives consist of chemicals that are used to improve the flow and help to get rid of the bacteria from the water. “By both weight and volume, the most prominent of these materials is a substance known as “guar,” an emulsifying agent more typically found in ice cream.”[7] The “fracturing fluids” are designed to ensure the process is completed effectively.

Although this method is very efficient in extracting natural gas, it may cause negative side-effects to the environment, such as contaminating the groundwater. To protect against this,  the drill must obey the standard safety guidelines; that is 10-inch, vault-thick steel and concrete shielding.

In order to find the potential areas of shale gas, surveyors and geologists identify suitable well locations in areas with potential for economical gas production by using both surface-level observation techniques and computer-generated maps of the subsurface. Some of their methods include rock layering imaging and well explorations. According to the recent 2013 U.S EIA Report on recoverable shale gas in 41 countries, the EIA made investigations and reported on the 41 countries they expected to have shale formations. They concluded that these countries can provide near-term promise and sufficient amount of shale gas resources. There are two types of shale gas; resource which is the amount of shale gas present in the rocks underneath, and recoverable which is the amount of shale gas that can be extracted. In their report, they also included locations of basins and regions that they analysed.[8]

Red areas represent the location of basins with shale formations for which estimates of the oil and natural gas in-place were technically recoverable. The Tan colored areas represent the location of basins that were reviewed, but for which shale resource estimates were not provided, mainly due to the lack of data necessary to conduct the assessment, while the White colored areas were not assessed in this report.

As can be seen from the map, multiple countries globally have vast amounts of energy resources that are attainable through hydraulic fracking, however “only the United States has fracked its shale gas into a national energy boom.” [9]

The US began hydraulic fracking in 1949, and according to the US Department of Energy, two million oil and gas wells have undergone hydraulic fracking in the country [10]. They provide a perfect example to study and analyse the advantages and disadvantages of hydraulic fracking.

Fracking has enhanced the global position of the US, allowing increased  influence over the globe. The US recently gained the position of ‘energy leader’ from Russia, as they produced the most energy globally in 2011. The US is also estimated to become the leading oil producer by 2020.  “We (the US) are now, or we will be shortly I would like to say, the Saudi Arabia of natural gas and oil byproducts” [9]. By increasing their influence in the global energy market through fracking, they are helping to maintain and build on their position as a superpower.

Meanwhile, hydraulic fracking in the United Kingdom has become a nationwide controversy, and has been suspended since May 2011. “On 1 April and 27 May 2011 two earthquakes with magnitudes 2.3 and 1.5 respectively were felt in the Blackpool area. These earthquakes were suspected to be linked to hydraulic fracture treatments at the Preese Hall well operated by Cuadrilla Resources Ltd.”[11] After a study was done on the relationship between the earthquakes and the fracking operation, the report shows that the risk of earthquakes was minimal.

Another reason that makes this operation become controversial is that the chemicals used may contaminate and pollute the groundwater. In addition, it also highlights many other environmental impacts and political issues. However, although it is still a controversial issue and had been suspended, it also have some advantages, specifically to the United Kingdom. “The industry suggests fracking of shale gas could contribute significantly to the UK’s future energy needs. A report by the Energy and Climate Change Committee in April said shale gas in the UK may help to secure energy supplies, but may not bring down gas prices.”[12]

Environmental Issues

The main environmental concerns of fracking include the contamination of groundwater reservoirs, a decrease in air quality, the possibility of the chemicals used in the fracking process and the shale gas itself leaking to the surface, the mishandling of waste products, and the possible effect on health that these issues can cause [13].

Since the 1980’s the Environmental Protection Agency in the United States has been conducting research projects into the effect that hydraulic fracturing has had on the environment. One study conducted by Professor Robert Oswald of Cornell University covered cases in 6 separate states, shows that chemicals used in the fracturing process had spilled into rivers local to the well after the lining of a storage unit was slit so that it could be drained off, allowing more waste fluid to be stored. This water is then drunk by farm animals and wildlife downstream which causes sickness, infertility and death.  [14].

The study also highlighted the fact that fracking companies have lobbied for legislation allowing them to keep the chemicals used in the injection fluid secret. This has made assessing the health impacts and making a direct link between death and illness impossible as there is no way to make a testing baseline. Without knowing what chemicals are used, there is no way of ascertaining whether they have originated from the fracking chemicals [14].

The quality of air is another concern. Methane emissions from fracking wells have raised concerns about global warming as methane has a greenhouse effect 20 times greater than that of carbon dioxide [15]. Other incidents have also raised concerns about the release of volatile organic compounds as well as ozone. Studies conducted in the residential town of DISH in Texas were undertaken after the residents complained of noise, odours and vibrations from the fracking sites, as well as illness within the community. Earthworks, a Washington DC based environmental group, sampled the air in the town and detected carbon disulfide, dimethyl disulfide and methyl ethyl disulfide. These chemicals are known skin, eye and respiratory irritants and the levels detected were above air quality standards set by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

Another group, Wolf Eagle Environmental of Flower Mound, Texas, also detected above average levels of benzene, which is a known carcinogen, xylenes and naphthalene. These findings caused the Texas Department of State Health Services to conduct its own study using blood samples from the residents of DISH. It found that the levels of chemicals in DISH residents were not any higher than those predicted for 95% of the population of the United States. Benzene levels were only elevated in the blood samples taken from smokers, and cigarette smoke is a known source of benzene. The state investigators also pointed out that the study was a one-off event and would not have detected chemical spikes that can occur from changes in temperature, wind-speed or variations in nearby fracking operations [16].

Another concern held by many, is that fracking can cause earthquakes. The fracking process regularly causes small seismic events that are only detected by sensitive instrumentation called geophones. By being able to locate the compression and shear waves emitted at fractures in space and time, engineers are able to construct a map of the created fracture by plotting the location of the acoustic emissions over time [17]. There have been recorded incidents of the fracking process causing earthquakes large enough to be felt by people, most notably in Oklahoma on the 6th of November 2011. Wastewater disposal seems to have induced an earthquake of magnitude 5.6 which led to a few injuries and damage to around a dozen homes. If an earthquake of the same magnitude were to occur in a more densely populated area, the damage would be much worse. A study by the US Geological Survey has shown that between 1975 and 2008, roughly 3 earthquakes of magnitude 3.0 or larger occurred each year. Between 2009 to mid 2013, the average grew to around 40 earthquakes per year [18].

However, the main issue to date concerning hydraulic fracturing appears to be the contamination of groundwater. The EPA does recognize that there is a potential for groundwater contamination due to fracking, however in May 2011 administrator Lisa Jackson testified in a Senate Hearing Committee that “I am not aware of any proven case where the fracking process itself has affected water” [19]. This statement can be made due to a number of reasons, the most important being the secrecy surrounding the chemicals used in the fracking process. As discussed earlier, it is impossible to say that any traces of chemicals found in groundwater or drinking water can be attributed to fracking without prior knowledge of the chemicals used [14].

However recent studies are starting to identify links between fracking and water contamination. One EPA report has said that the water contamination in Pavillion, Wyoming, had most likely seeped up from gas wells and traces of at least 10 chemical compounds known to be used in fracking fluids had been detected. Some of the findings also directly contradict longstanding arguments made by the drilling industry for why fracking is safe. They argue that hydrological pressure would naturally force fluids downwards away from the earth’s surface. The report highlighted that pollution from 33 abandoned waste pits are responsible for some of the surface water pollution detected, but could not account for the pollution levels detected in water found 1000 feet underground and the EPA concluded that this must have originated in the fracking process itself [20].

There is a lot of concern to the environmental damage caused in the US and it is a major factor that has convinced many countries to avoid hydraulic fracking. Pollution in water is a major problem caused by fracking; groundwater and tap water are both affected. Fracking wastewater discharged often pollutes drinking and ground water. Bromine from the wastewater is often mixed with chlorine at treatment plants and this results to trihalomethanes, which can result in health problems[10]. Fracking in America generated 280 bn US gallons of toxic waste water last year (2012)[10], which shows us the massive scale of the problem. There have even been reports of flammable tap water believed to be caused by hydraulic fracking.

Air quality is also hugely affected. Multiple greenhouse gases including methane, carbon dioxide and even volatile organic compounds (VOCs) can be released. The scale for air pollution is also considerable. In 2005, 450,000 tons of air pollution and 100m metric tons of global warming pollution was resultant[21]. This only adds to the growing problem of global warming, and does not promote ‘clean energy production’.

The environmental problems however stretch further as the re-injecting that happens deep underground often leaves instability in the earth. Even earthquakes can be consequential of this, which can lead to problems on a whole new scale, especially for a densely populated island such as the United Kingdom.

Political and economical aspects

Public opinion is generally supportive of fracking, with 55% in favour of shale gas being extracted in the UK according to a survey conducted by the University of Nottingham in Sep 2013 [22], and 25% against.

However, although there is overall support for shale gas as part of the UK’s energy mix, the same survey found that shale gas was in fact the least popular out of ten fuels that included nuclear, coal, oil and wind.  Significantly, conventional gas was 30% more popular than shale gas, despite them being chemically indifferent.  This suggests that it is the method of extracting shale gas, fracking, that leads to its relative unpopularity.

There have also been protests that have occurred at sites where exploratory drilling have taken place by Cuadrilla Resources, such as Balcombe in Sussex, led by Green MP Caroline Lucas. The protest at Balcombe suggests that although there may be overall nationwide support for fracking, locally the support diminishes when fracking could occur on your doorstep.

Caroline Lucas supported the protest because she believes that “the widespread use of shale gas is quite simply incompatible with the UK’s international commitments to keep global warming below 2C”. [23]  She also highlights how the “International Energy Agency has forecast that natural gas prices could rise by 40% by 2020, even with an influx of cheap supplies from shale”.

This last point however contrasts the publics opinion from the survey, with more than half of the respondents associating shale gas with cheaper energy.  However, more than half of the survey’s respondents also associated shale gas with earthquakes, water contamination, and it being a ‘dirty’ energy source, so it is perhaps surprising that there was still a majority in favour of fracking for shale gas.

The Government’s position is they “believe that shale gas has the potential to provide the UK with greater energy security, growth and jobs. We are encouraging safe and environmentally sound exploration to determine this potential”. [24]   Two notable supporters of fracking in government are George Osborne and David Cameron, who could use their significant influence within government to push through policies that could increase the numbers of holes drilled for fracking in the UK.

For example,  George Osborne recently cut the tax rate for onshore gas drilling to 30%, less than half of the tax rate for offshore drilling.  He claimed he wanted “Britain to be a leader of the shale gas revolution – because it has the potential to create thousands of jobs and keep energy bills low for millions of people.” [25]

However, this infuriated environmentalist groups such as Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth, who would rather tax breaks went to green energy sources.  There are also claims that tax breaks are unnecessary for gas drilling, and that consumers will see none of the benefits from the tax breaks in the form of lower gas bills.

Considering the UK government is making a large push to become ‘greener’ given the 2008 Climate Change Act, [26] it is surprising they are making a push for shale gas, as you would expect them to be more focused on other renewable forms of energy such as wind, solar and even nuclear.

Unsurprisingly, the major oil and gas companies are supportive of fracking, due to the perceived benefits they believe it offers.  These include the cheaper cost of extracting gas through fracking compared to conventional methods, as well as extensive supplies; a possible 50% more shale gas may be buried under the UK than conventional gas.  Along with this there is also the lure of increased profits for the drilling companies. [27]]

Looking at the US economy, it is clear that hydraulic fracking has had a significant impact.  US spending on energy has dramatically fallen; they imported 32% less natural gas in 2012 compared to 2007 .  Prices are also being driven down due to fracking; gas prices are ‘one-third of natural gas prices in Europe, and up to one-fifth of natural gas prices in Japan’. [28]

Economic gains due to hydraulic fracking are evident; the US are spending less on importing energy, and it is already (as of 2012) the 3rd richest oil producer (as well as already being the richest gas producer), and is projected to be the richest overall producer by 2020. With energy usage globally set to rise by over 35% by 2035 [29], the US look set to have constant economic benefits for the foreseeable future due to hydraulic fracking. Fracking also introduces multiple job opportunities and chances for innovation and new finds.  International investment has also been attracted by the business prospects that fracking sets.

However, some believe that the UK will never experience the cheaper costs that are available to the US, mainly because of the lack of natural gas infrastructure and drilling service providers, and also higher land acquisition costs.  Therefore, it is debatable whether fracking really will lead to cheaper extraction of natural gas than conventional methods in the UK. [30]

Therefore, fracking is very unlikely to bring the average gas bill for the consumer down, not least because it is unlikely to ever make up more than 5% of the UK market, and also because the UK is linked to a european market which makes it almost impossible to lower the UK consumer’s prices significantly.

Conclusion

There are certainly some benefits to be gained from fracking, such as greater energy security and independence for the UK, as well as more jobs and possibly cheaper fuel bills.  However, shale gas will not help the UK’s push to become green too much, and some would say that the government should be focusing more of its efforts on green energy such as wind, solar and tidal power.

Although hydraulic fracking has been very successful in the US, especially economically, it is unlikely that the same success will be seen in Britain, mainly because the infrastructure for gas is not already in place.  Fracking has also had environmental issues in the US, such as in Pennsylvania where waste chemicals mixed with the water supply, causing drinking water to set alight due to methane that had seeped into underground aquifers.  For this incident, Chesapeake was fined by the state’s Department of Environmental Protection nearly $1 million (£612,000). [31]

Given that 18 million litres of water as well as 68,000 to 273,000 litres of chemicals are needed for a single lateral well, it is evident that this process needs many resources, which considering the water shortages the UK has experienced over the last few years is another issue.  It is not only the need for huge amount of resources that makes this process expensive, but also the need for large containers for storage, transportation of the liquids needed for the process, and transportation and storage of toxic water after the process. As much as 75% of the liquids which are sent underground will return to the surface, which can cause possible environmental issues.

Natural gas contributes less to global warming than coal, so there would be benefits of replacing coal fired power stations with gas sourced from fracking, especially considering the UK’s attempts to decrease their greenhouse gas emissions.  However, unburnt natural gas is a very powerful greenhouse gas itself, so any leakage during exploration, extraction, compression, piping or burning would end up contributing to global warming itself.

Fracking is the only viable way to extract shale gas, so if the UK does decide that they want fracking to be a significant part of the country’s energy mix then they will have to accept the inherent environmental risks that come with it.  However, through safeguards and good practice they can attempt to reduce these risks and prevent any environmental disasters.

On the other hand, fracking will offer access to a resource that is abundant, domestic, cheap and creates jobs, as well as providing energy security.  However, the same could be said of many renewable sources of energy, with the exception of cheap. Whether we actually need fracking and natural gas therefore becomes debatable.

In a time when needs for power and jobs are always increasing, it will likely come down to whether the UK values the environment more highly than the economy.

Recommendations

If the fracking process could be improved so the environmental risks are kept to a minimum, then more people who are currently opposed to fracking may be willing to change their stance. General Electric (GE) has put forward an idea of a technology which could help to improve water treatment and decrease the chance of toxic waste being spilled. Amy Myers Jaffe, the executive director of energy and sustainability at the University of California at Davis, and recently appointed to the GE environmental advisory board, says “Water-treatment technology is going to become more and more critical as industry moves forward.” She also says that for fracking to continue to grow, it depends on the “industry getting its act together to do it in an environmentally sustainable way.”

Improving the water treatment process could potentially change the way shale gas producers operate by making it economically viable to treat water at fracking sites instead of trucking it long distances to large water-treatment facilities or disposal wells. Currently, producers reuse much of the water used in injection, but it means storing it in artificial ponds which can leak, and then diluting it which uses millions of gallons of fresh water. Eventually the water is no longer reusable and must be shipped to treatment sites, which can be expensive, or injected deep underground which can cause earthquakes.  The new technology would make it unnecessary to dilute the wastewater and to transport it. It is based on desalination technology known as membrane distillation. It combines heat and decreased pressure to vaporize water using a membrane to separate pure water vapour from salt water.  Based on tests of a machine that can process about 2,500 gallons of water per day; researchers estimate that they can cut the cost of treating salty fracking wastewater in half. They also estimate that the system can be up scaled in order to treat about 40,000 gallons of water per day.

However this technology will not be useful everywhere and will only be able to help in areas where wastewater is too salty to be treated by conventional methods or in dry areas such as the Eagle Ford shale deposit in Texas.  Therefore, its usefulness in the UK fracking industry is debatable.[32]

The disclosure of chemicals used in the fracking process would also allow studies to conclusively prove whether groundwater contamination can be traced to the fracking process. Until this is possible, shale gas producers cannot be held liable for any chemical contamination found, and there will always be doubts in the public eye as to the environmental damage being caused by fracking.

References

[1] Talisman Energy, “Hydraulic Energy,” [Online]. Available:

http://www.talisman-energy.com/operations/the-americas/hydraulic_fracturing/. [Accessed: 9 December 2013]

[2] Wikipedia, “Natural Gas,” [Online]. Available:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural_gas. [Accessed: 9 December 2013]

[3] Energy Answered, “How does hydraulic fracturing work?” [Online]. Available:

http://www.energyanswered.org/questions/how%20does%20hydraulic%20fracturing%20work#sthash.anIGhnUt.dpuf. [Accessed: 9 December 2013]

[4] Energy Answered, “How does hydraulic fracturing work?” [Online]. Available:

http://www.energyanswered.org/questions/how%20does%20hydraulic%20fracturing%20work#sthash.anIGhnUt.dpuf. [Accessed: 9 December 2013]

[5] Energy Answered, “How does hydraulic fracturing work?” [Online]. Available:

http://www.energyanswered.org/questions/how%20does%20hydraulic%20fracturing%20work#sthash.anIGhnUt.dpuf. [Accessed: 9 December 2013]

[6] Talisman Energy, “Hydraulic Energy,” [Online]. Available:

http://www.talisman-energy.com/operations/the-americas/hydraulic_fracturing/. [Accessed: 9 December 2013]

[7] Energy Answered, “How does hydraulic fracturing work?” [Online]. Available:

http://www.energyanswered.org/questions/how%20does%20hydraulic%20fracturing%20work#sthash.anIGhnUt.dpuf. [Accessed: 9 December 2013]

[8] U.S. Energy Information Administration “Technically Recoverable Shale Oil and Shale Gas Resources: An Assessment of 137 Shale Formations in 41 Countries Outside the United States,” [Online]. Available:

http://www.eia.gov/analysis/studies/worldshalegas/. [Accessed: 8 January 2014]

[9] Forbes, “Six Reasons Fracking Has Flopped Overseas,” [Online]. Available: http://www.forbes.com/sites/jeffmcmahon/2013/04/07/six-reasons-fracking-has-flopped-overseas/ [Accessed 8 January 2014]

[10] The Guardian, “Fracking Produces Annual Toxic Waste Water Enough To Flood Washington DC,” [Online]. Available: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/oct/04/fracking-us-toxic-waste-water-washington [Accessed: 8 January 2014]

[11] Department of Energy & Climate Change, “Oil and gas: onshore exploration and production,” [Online]. Available:

https://www.gov.uk/oil-and-gas-onshore-exploration-and-production#resumption-of-shale-gas-exploration. [Accessed: 9 December 2013]

[12] BBC News UK, “What is fracking and why is it controversial?” [Online]. Available:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-14432401. [Accessed: 9 December 2013]

[13] Environmental Health Perspectives, “Industry Issues: Putting the Heat on Gas,” [Online]. Available: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1817691/. [Accessed: 12 December 2013]

[14]Cornell Universtiy, “Study Suggests Hydrofracking is Killing Farm Animals” [Online] Available: http://www.news.cornell.edu/stories/2012/03/reproductive-problems-death-animals-exposed-fracking. [Accessed: 12 December 2013]

[15] Reuters, “Why we should focus on methane; not carbon dioxide” [online] Available http://blogs.reuters.com/gregg-easterbrook/2011/05/19/why-we-should-focus-on-methane-not-carbon-dioxide/. [Accessed: 13 December]

[16] Environmental Health Perspectives, “Blind Rush? Shale Gas Boom Proceeds amid Human Health Questions” [Online] Available: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3237379/. [Accessed: 13 December 2013]

[17]The Source for Hydraulic Fracture Characterization, pg 49. [Online] Available: http://www.slb.com/~/media/Files/resources/oilfield_review/ors05/win05/04_the_source_for_hydraulic.pdf. [Accessed: 8 January 2014]

[18]U.S Geological Survey, “Man-Made Earthquakes Update” [Online] Available: http://www.usgs.gov/blogs/features/usgs_top_story/man-made-earthquakes/. [Accessed: 23 December 2013]

[19]US Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works, “EPA Jackson ‘Not Aware of Any Proven Case Where the Fracking Process Itself Has Affected Water’” [Online] Available: http://www.epw.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=PressRoom.PressReleases&ContentRecord_id=23EB85DD-802A-23AD-43F9-DA281B2CD287. [Accessed: 23 December 2013]

[20] ProPublica, “Feds Link Water Contamination to Fracking for the First Time,” [Online] Available: http://www.propublica.org/article/feds-link-water-contamination-to-fracking-for-first-time. [Accessed: 23 December 2013]

[21] Environment America, “Key Impacts of Dirty Drilling at the State and National Level” [Online] Available: http://www.environmentamerica.org/sites/environment/files/reports/EA_FrackingNumbers_scrn.pdf. [Accessed: 8 January 2014]

[22] University of Nottingham, “Public Perception of Shale Gas Extraction in the UK: The Impact of the Balcombe Protests in July – August 2013” [Online] Available: http://nottspolitics.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/public-perceptions-of-shale-gas-in-the-UK-september-2013-1-2.pdf. [Accessed: 8 January 2014]

[23] The Guardian, “I Risked Arrest at Blacombe to Send the Coalition a Message on Climate Change” [Online] Available: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/oct/16/i-risked-arrest-to-send-a-message [Accessed: 8 January 2014]

[24] Department of Energy and Climate Change, “Developing Shale Gas and Oil in the UK” [Online] Available: https://www.gov.uk/government/policies/providing-regulation-and-licensing-of-energy-industries-and-infrastructure/supporting-pages/developing-shale-gas-and-oil-in-the-uk [Accessed: 8 January 2014]

[25] The Guardian, “George Osborne Unveils ‘Most Generous Tax Breaks In World’ For Fracking.” [Online] Available: http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2013/jul/19/george-osborne-tax-break-fracking-shale-environment [Accessed: 8 January 2014]

[26] The National Archives, “Climate Change Act 2008” [Online] Available: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2008/27/contents [Accessed: 8 January 2014]

[27] BBC News UK, “Viewpoints: Fracking’s Risks and Benefits” [Online] Available: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-20758673. [Accessed : 8 January 2014]

[28] World Bank Blogs, “Prospects Weekly: Private Capital Flows to Developing Countries Eased in October” [Online]. Available: http://blogs.worldbank.org/category/tags/natural-gas-prices. [Accessed: 8 January 2014]

[29] Inetrnational Energy Agency, “Natural Gas” [Online] Available: http://www.iea.org/aboutus/faqs/gas/. [Accessed: 8 January 2014]

[30] Oil Price, “UK Shale Gas: Promising but Not Cheap” [Online] Available: http://oilprice.com/Latest-Energy-News/World-News/UK-Shale-Gas-Promising-but-Not-Cheap.html [Accessed: 8 January 2014]

[31] Reuters, “Chesapeake Handed Record Fine for Pennsylvania Gas Drilling” [Online] Available: http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/05/17/us-chesapeake-dep-idUSTRE74G61M20110517 [Accessed: 8 January 2014]

[32] MIT Technology Review, “One Way to Solve Fracking’s Dirty Problem” [Online] Available: http://www.technologyreview.com/news/519416/one-way-to-solve-frackings-dirty-problem [Accessed: 8 January 2014]

This report is written by Robert Mills, Mert Chavushoglu, Jitpal Heer, Fadzlina Harun,  Ahmad Nizar  and Anthony Wright

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