Dr. Mohamed Soliman, a Professor of Petroleum at Texas Tech University, says the concerns over hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, are unfounded. “Hydraulic fracturing is not a new thing. It has been around since the late 1940’s,” Soliman said.
The process of fracking is used to extract oil or natural gas deep below the Earth’s surface in oil and gas development. Blasts of water, chemicals and sands are pumped into the ground and used to fracture shale, which then releases natural gas or oil. Because it takes place thousands of feet below the ground, many believe it poses a threat to the environment.
However, Dr. Soliman says that is not the case. He says companies that conduct the fracking do not use dangerous chemicals. Instead, they opt for organic chemicals made from plants. Dr. Soliman says that water contamination is not an issue, because oil or natural gas never makes it to underground water on its own.
“This fluid has been sitting there for several million years and it has not come up to the surface. Why would it come to the surface now? It doesn’t make sense,” Soliman said. He says the benefits of hydraulic fracturing far outweigh any dangers that some believe it to pose. As with anything, he says caution should be exercised and it’s up to the company conducting the fracking to do so safely. “If it is done right, there is no danger,” Dr. Soliman said.