Over I50 years ago, a process was developed to extract more hydrocarbons from an oil well after it surrendered its easy, pressurized stream of ‘black gold.’ This process was known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, for short. Over the decades, roughnecks and engineers have improved the processes to increase productions at old, abandoned oil wells. Some of the refinements include horizontal drilling off of a main well in order to access a layer bearing trapped oil and gas. This would forego the need to drill another expensive vertical well with multiple casings to protect the ground water. The amelioration of hydraulic equipment led to higher pressures and thus penetrated farther into the strata. The fracking liquid consists of 90% water, 9.5% spherical silica sand extracted from special sandstone formations, and 0.5% chemicals to reduce friction and corrosion. They also enhance viscosity and coat the sand with a resin to keep it glued in the cracks after the pressure is released. These engineering feats have reduced the price of oil and have added fringe benefits, which include continuing our dependence on hydrocarbon fuels that our infrastructure is already set up for, increasing our global temperature, which will melt polar ice and raise the ocean levels (but at the same time, it is conveniently raising the land hydraulically), and expanding our crop growing season by extending agricultural areas into polar territories that experience more plant stimulating daylight during summers. This creates more vegetation that produces oxygen that enhances human brain development. All these planet changing factors will produce more biological mass. When this biomass dies, the remains will form the hydrocarbons of the future. These conditions are very similar to the Carboniferous Period, whose past life now fuels our demands today. It is in our genes to cook the earth into a delightful souffle, to ensure an abundant supply for our oily offspring.
So which is it? Frick or Frack? I prefer Frack because I am, at my core, a greedy,now or never individual, who doesn’t give a rat’s ass what the future holds, since mine is limited. What’s a few earthquakes here and there? Black gold, Texas tea. All good, just ask Jed Clampett!!