Skeptics on the Fringe presents:
Dr. Stuart Gifillan, Senior Lecturer in Geochemistry, School of GeoSciences at the University of Edinburgh - Should we allow fracking in the UK?
Fracking is the new word which has emerged to describe the process where deep gas and oil can be won from deeply buried organic rich ‘shale’ rocks. The fracking process, technically termed ‘hydraulic fracturing’, involves the high pressure injection of water, sand and trace amounts of chemicals deep underground through a borehole to create fractures in the shale rocks containing trapped oil and gas. This allows the valuable hydrocarbons within the shale rocks to be produced and combined with advances in drilling technology that allows boreholes to be turned horizontally through the shale rock underground, the fracking process has proved to be extremely effective at producing large quantities of oil and gas, particularly in the USA. However, the process is not without controversy, especially in the UK. In this talk I will outline the science behind the fracking process, its pros and cons and outline the current motivation to undertake exploration for shale gas and oil in the UK. I will aim to address some of the myths surrounding the process and help to allow more informed debate on whether fracking should or should not be allowed to continue in the UK.
Dr. Stuart Gilfillan is currently a Senior Lecturer in Geochemistry in the School of GeoSciences at the University of Edinburgh. Educated in Earth Science at the University of Glasgow (BSc) and Geology at the University of Manchester (PhD) his early research focused on understanding how carbon dioxide has been naturally stored in the subsurface. Following his PhD he moved to Edinburgh in 2006, where he has developed means of fingerprinting carbon dioxide in order to track its movement and means of storage in subsurface reservoirs, as part of efforts to develop carbon capture and storage technologies. More recently he has been applying this knowledge to the environmental monitoring of unconventional gas extraction, geothermal energy production and understanding the connectivity of hydrocarbon reservoirs. He has been working on the measurement of geochemical fingerprints in shale gas sources in the UK since 2012 and has a keen interest in all areas of utilising the subsurface for energy production or storage.
Twitter - @stugilfillan
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