What is fracking, why is it controversial and will it REALLY solve the energy crisis? MailOnline answers your key questions about the practice after the UK government lifts the ban

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  • Prime Minister Liz Truss Confirms This Week She Is Lifting Bans on Boris Johnson’s Fracking
  • Fracking involves drilling into the earth before pouring a mixture of high-pressure water to release natural gas.
  • It is controversial due to the use of chemicals, groundwater contamination, noise, air pollution and earthquake tremors.
  • Here, MailOnline answers your key questions about the controversial practice.

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Liz Truss has set herself up for a new battle with environmental groups and green Tories, as she confirmed she is lifting Boris Johnson’s ban on fracking.

Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is the process of drilling down into the earth before pouring a mixture of high-pressure water to release natural gas.

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However, it has proved controversial due to the use of chemicals, groundwater contamination, noise, air pollution and even earthquake tremors.

Yesterday, Jacob Rees-Mogg confirmed that firms extracting gas using the controversial technique would be allowed a major earthquake to kickstart production.

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The Trade Secretary clarified that the limit of 0.5 on the Richter scale would be reduced to 2.5, acknowledging that otherwise there would be no mining.

Here, MailOnline answers all your major questions about fracking – what’s in it, how much energy it can generate and if it will make your energy bills cheaper.

Fracking is the process of drilling down into the earth before a mixture of high pressure water is poured to release natural gas. Water, sand and chemicals are injected into underground boreholes under high pressure to open cracks in the rock, allowing the trapped gas to flow to the surface.

What are the potential reserves of shale gas in the UK?

Four regions in the UK have been identified as potentially viable for commercial extraction of shale gas: the Bolland–Hodder field in Northwest England, the Midland Valley in Scotland, the Weld Basin in southern England and the Wessex field in southern England.

According to the British Geological Survey, preliminary estimates in 2013 suggested that the Boland–Hodder region may be between 23.3 and 64.6 trillion cubic meters (TCM).

But a more recent analysis in 2019 suggested that the figure is closer to 4.0 TCM.

A 2014 study estimated the Midland Valley to have 1.4–3.8 TCM.

Source: LSE

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What is fracking?

Fracking is a process used to extract natural gas – one of the UK’s main energy sources – from underground shale rock.

The process involves the injection of more than a million gallons of water, sand and chemicals at high pressure into wells.

The pressurized mixture causes cracks in the shale, and these cracks are kept open by sand so that gas from the rock can flow into the well.

When natural gas runs out of the well, it is stored in storage tanks and then sent to market to be used as an energy source.

Fracking as a technique has been widely used in the US, a country with wide open space, but some fear it is unsuitable for a smaller country such as the UK.

According to Geologist Professor Stuart Hazeldine of the University of Edinburgh, this is due to the geological differences between the two countries.

Professor Hazeldin told MailOnline: ‘The British Isles are geologically complex, with hundreds of millions through geological history.

‘This means that many defects and fractures already exist – which can be reactivated by injection of fracking water at extremely high pressures.

‘The very simple geological history of the US and Canada means that very few faults and fractures exist and large deposits of layered shale gas source rocks remain undamaged.’

Where is shale gas found in the UK?

Four areas in the UK have been identified as potentially viable for the commercial extraction of shale gas:

  1. Boland-Hodder region in Northwest England
  2. Midland Valley in Scotland
  3. Weld Basin in Southern England
  4. Wessex region in southern England

What are the potential reserves of shale gas in the UK?

According to the British Geological Survey, preliminary estimates in 2013 suggested that the Bolland-Hodder field may contain between 23.3 and 64.6 trillion cubic meters of shale gas.

But a more recent analysis in 2019 suggested the figure is closer to 4.0 trillion cubic meters.

Meanwhile, a 2014 study estimated that the Midland Valley hosts 1.4–3.8 trillion cubic meters.

a review Published in March 2020 by the Warwick Business School, it was calculated that UK fracking could produce between 90 and 330 billion cubic meters of natural gas between 2020 and 2050.

At the high end of this guess, the review…

Credit: www.dailymail.co.uk /

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