Does Fracking Pollute Groundwater?

At last! Scientists can now positively identify if water contamination was caused specifically by the process of oil and natural gas extraction called hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”).

Hydraulic fracturing involves forcing large amounts of water into underground shale, releasing trapped oil or natural gas.

Until now, the downside of the effects of fracking was highly controversial and lacking in scientific evidence. The oil and gas industry has always said that hydraulic fracturing is harmless to the environment, while environmentalists were quick to identify a number of water contamination problems near fracking sites that soon led to claims that the process was highly dangerous to the environment and to creatures living in it.

The development of the new detection tool, which traces the “isotopic and geochemical fingerprints” created and left behind by the hydraulic fracturing process, should remove all uncertainty and controversy about fracking and the dangers it presents to the surroundings.

Fracking causes no harm

The process of fracking to extract underground oil and gas became prevalent in 2008, but it has always been difficult to prove that any contamination of water was due to the fracking process: the oil industry is not required to disclose what chemicals they use during the fracking process, claiming “trade secrets” as their cover. The team of scientists says that their new tool can positively identify if fracking was the cause of any water pollution without any prior knowledge of the chemicals used.

The team of scientists led by Duke University geochemist A. Vengosh and comprised of researchers from Stanford University, Dartmouth College, and the French geological Survey, published their announcement on October 21, 2014, in the journal “Environmental Science & Technology”. The scientists say they can now positively identify pollution directly attributable to the fracking process by tracking the unique isotopic footprint left behind in the wastewater used in fracking. The scientists track the elements boron and lithium, which are naturally present in shale. The team says they can tell if the pollution was caused by other processes in the oil/gas extraction process over the last 20-30 years, or if it was caused by fracking. But a Yale Study recently confirmed that there were basically no connections between fracking and water contamination.

Even though fracking process uses huge amounts of water to force oil and gas to the surface, it doesn’t pollute the groundwater. When the waster rises to the surface, Dr. Vengosh says that the water has a unique isotopic footprint that is different form any other type of wastewater – even wastewater from regular oil and gas exploration. It is estimated that the oil industry generates 280 billion gallons of wastewater from fracking annually. Much of this water is dumped into rivers and streams, remaining untreated, and can easily get into our drinking water. The oil industry has persistently denied that fracking causes any environmental pollution or damage. The newly-developed tool will now be able to positively identify if fracking is or was the cause of any water pollution.

Gives you a different idea about oil and gas, now doesn’t it? If you’re convinced to invest in an oil well, we have a perfect article for you that we wrote just the other day!

The process of fracking and the perceived dangers of the process have always been controversial. This new testing process should remove all doubt and controversy from the discussion about fracking, and it will be able to finally settle the issue of whether fracking is dangerous or not.

Investing in Oil Stocks

Many investors are on the lookout for profitable oil stocks to invest in. If you are wondering how to invest in oil, then stocks are your easiest choice. Oil stocks are stocks in companies involved in trading in oil. You need to be very careful while choosing the company whose stocks you want to buy. Once you have chosen, it is rather easy to buy the stocks. They are traded in all the major stock exchanges.

Otherwise, you can open your own brokerage account and start trading.

Choosing Oil Stocks to Invest in:

You need to examine the different oil companies carefully before choosing which oil stocks to invest in. You should not be dazzled by great promises. It is best if you look for a reputable company which has a healthy cash flow. This ensures that they will be able to pay you steady dividends. Other points to keep in mind are the type of company, what products they trade in and their geopolitical situation. Taking into account all these factors, you will have to choose the most suitable oil stocks to invest in for you.

You should keep in mind that investing in oil promises great returns but they also carry the risk of great losses. For the ordinary investor, it is better not to put all your eggs in one basket and invest too heavily in oil stocks. It is true that demand for oil is increasing. These increases are becoming faster and faster as the developing countries gradually begin to use more oil for their own economic development. So the price of oil is not going to fall in recent days.

However, at the same time, oil being a fossil fuel, it is rapidly getting exhausted. Keeping all these factors in mind, it is advisable to diversify your holdings. Buy stocks in well-established healthy companies, but also invest in alternative energy.

Finally, improved drilling technologies and new discoveries of oil reserves have made oil investing highly attractive.

Types of Oil Stocks:

While choosing oil stocks to invest in, you should keep the following categories in mind. Each has their own advantages and disadvantages.

You can buy stocks in large oil companies. They generally have well established cash flow and the investors receive moderate but steady returns. Their stocks are often under-priced. So, you can be sure of moderate to high returns on your investment. However, there is one problem with the large oil companies. In view of the rising prices, the government sometimes takes punitive actions against these companies which may affect the returns. However, any such effect will be limited in scope and not long lasting.

Small oil company stocks are another alternative and they are generally exempt from such punitive action by the government. They have yielded good returns in the past, but they do tend to be more volatile than large oil company stocks.

Finally, you may consider oil service companies like drilling and tanker companies and refineries when looking for oil stocks to invest in. But in depth research is recommended.