What is fracking?
The Fracking Process
The process of fracking essentially is the extraction of natural gas (methane) from shale rock using high volume hydraulic fracturing.
Shale rock is found throughout Ireland. It is formed from mud laid down in layers millions of years ago. Originally the mud was mixed with rotting vegetation but, as it sank further and further underground, now has methane gas trapped between the layers. Shale used for gas production usually is a mile or more below the surface.
Hydraulic fracturing (or fracking) is an industrial operation pumping large volumes (over 4 million gallons) of water per well mixed with thousands of tons of sand and chemicals at explosive pressure through the shale, shattering the rock and releasing the gas.
How is the gas produced?
• A concrete mining “pad” is constructed for up to 24 wells, radiating out from the pad in all directions.
• A well is drilled down to the shale rock layer.
• A “casing” of steel pipe and cement around the bore is designed to keep fluids and gases from escaping and contaminating underground aquifers.
• Once the well reaches the shale layer (a mile or more below ground), the drill travels horizontally along the shale layer another mile or two.
• Hydraulic fracturing then takes place along the horizontal section, releasing the gas, which escapes up the pipe to the surface. This process involves literally exploding the rock, creating fissures which release the gas trapped in the tiny rock layers, which escapes up the pipe to the surface.
Land use proposal for Leitrim/Fermanagh
• Initial target area 100,000 acres, 7-acre pad every square mile, up to 24 wells per pad
• 3,000 wells were planned in Fermanagh/Leitrim.
• Farming and tourism are not compatible with fracking!
• Access to land allowed for ”energy infrastructure” works.
• 1,000 heavy vehicles needed to construct a pad and drill one well. Huge traffic problems on country roads.