The shale oil boom has been a positive influence on the economy and bodes well for energy independence in the country, however, it has not come without its criticisms.
There are a number of ways in which the country has benefited from the increase in oil production that has occurred over the last few years. In 2012 alone, this trend supported around 2.1 million jobs and contributed close to $75 billion in federal and state revenues according to Bloomberg.
Vertical methods of drilling had been on the decline for quite some time as many of the easy to access reserves were continually tapped. However, this boom has been spurred on a by a new method of drilling known as hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking."
The process works by effectively drilling tunnels into the ground, typically using chemicals and water. The oil in the ground then leaks into these holes from which the resource can be cultivated.
While this process has been instrumental in being able to access these oil plays, it has also been the subject of much criticism when it comes to its effects on the surrounding environment. Because of the way the process operates, many people have grown critical about the effects it can have on the ground water of the area as there are concerns that the water and chemicals could leak from their lesions.
New process could alleviate concerns
The International Business Times reports that developments in the process have been able to reduce the amount of water used in fracking, there by making for a cleaner extraction processes. In looking at an article from rigzone.com, fracking drills could replace water with butane or pentane thereby reducing the need for the chemically treated water.
The news source reports that right now, 95 percent of the industry uses the conventional fracking method, however, these developments could make alternatives more commercially viable. The news source reports that it may also be able to remove the need to clean the fracking sight. On top of this, it could be a safer method for workers as well.
As the oil booms continues these developments could make important strides in many of the country's oil plays such as Eagle Ford in Texas and Bakken in North Dakota. The economic benefits of this growth in the industry are strong, and through these kinds of advancements, the environmental damage could be mitigated as well.