Oil Supplies & Environment

The Chinese were drilling wells and using oil to burn off brine for salt as early as 347 AD. Using bamboo for both pipes and drills they reached depths of 800 feet. Romans used the oil in tar to build walls over four thousand years ago.

It was the ability to distill kerosene from “rock oil” was developed in the mid 1800’s that began the evolution of oil drilling and refining. In the 1950’s oil replaced coal as the foremost fuel in use in North America.

In the early days oil companies relied on seeps in the ground or drilled near existing wells as their method of finding oil. Later the oil companies came to rely on geology and the magnetic method of identifying potential oil fields. Tools used by oil and gas explorers were fairly basic and depended on fundamental variables in the earth’s physical condition: gravity change, magnetic field change, time change, and electrical resistance.

Slick water hydraulic fracturing or fracking is a technology used to extract natural gas, and oil, that lies within a shale rock formation thousands of feet beneath the earth’s surface.

Petroleum engineers have used fracking as a means of increasing well production since the late 1940s. Fractures can also exist naturally in formations, and both natural and man-made fractures can be widened by fracking. As a result, more oil and gas can be extracted from a given area of land. Using horizontal drilling and explosives to tap into oil and gas trapped in areas as large as hundreds of acres.

Many environmentalists are concerned that fracking may contaminate drinking water for local citizens. In the United States, fracking has already been tied to groundwater contamination, methane leaks and is criticized for its use of toxic chemicals in the drilling technology. In the UK, where it’s a relatively new practice, regulation of shale gas harvest is still in the development stage. Even with good regulation the risks of water supply contamination could continue to haunt us.

In Canada the Alberta oil sands is probably the biggest known polluter in the world. The current “Harper Government” is allowing this potential harmful process to continue to reap the short term benefits of the oil industries huge investment into this project. The water contamination and huge carbon pollution is an embarrassment to any person with any kind of environmental conscious. While the president of the United States is trying to make a difference in Global warming, Canada is merrily increasing the worlds pollution at an alarming rate.

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