Is Fracking A Necessary Evil? For The United Kingdom?

3414 Words14 Pages
Paper 4 Project 2013-14:
Is fracking a ‘necessary evil’ for the United Kingdom?

Candidate Number: 127

Word Count: 3000 + 381(Bibliography) = 3381

Introduction
Since 2004 the UK has been a net importer of natural gas, as the North Sea reserves have been exploited and nearly exhausted. Today, ten years later, the UK has become even more dependent on foreign gas with over 50% of demand for gas satisfied by foreign supply (Gloystein, 2013). This increasing dependence on foreign countries is a worrying trend, due to the adverse effects it can have, which include being subjected to price shocks, supply shortages and manipulation both economically and politically. Energy insecurity has arisen through a lack of investment in other
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This mixture creates fractures and fissures in the rock which allows the gas, which is trapped inside the shale, to escape back up the well and then can be used as a fuel (Charlez, 1997). This is a simplified explanation as this report revolves around the socio-economic impact of fracking, not the petro-chemical engineering process. Whilst fracking has been used since 1947 (King, 2012) it has recently risen to prominence due to increases in hydrocarbon prices, which has made it economically viable, as well as improvements in technology, which has allowed deeper levels of shale rock to be explored and exploited.
Over the course of this report the arguments for and against fracking shall be set out and evaluated as well as the respective policy implications regarding the problems which will inevitably arise. The conclusion that is reached is that the UK does require fracking for numerous security and economic reasons, whilst the environmental risks can be sufficiently reduced through effective management. The next section shall cover the environmental issues, which range from water over abstraction and pollution to greenhouse gas emissions. In contrast the economic benefits, such as increases in employment, investment and government revenue, shall be analysed.

Background
The process of fracking begins with an exploration well being drilled, which tests for potential reserves. If these reserves are discovered in
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