Shale gas and shale oil refer to petroleum and natural gas exploited from shale. Why exploiting shale gas and shale oil is inadvisable?
Firstly, let’s start with the structure of the earth. The structure of the earth is composed of core, mantle and crust. In terms of material composition, the earth is composed of solid, liquid, semi-fluid, gas and other materials including complex components such as rock, liquid and gas.
Many people living on the earth have a misconception that the earth is stationary on which the supply of matter is inexhaustible. Is that true?
Don't forget that the earth is a globe moving at any moment. It rotates at 1674 kilometres per hour and 466 metres per second, which is 674 kilometres to 874 kilometres per hour than average flight speed of a civil airplane. The structural circle of the earth shows that the situation of the earth motion is similar to automobile traveling, which also needs lubrication, pressure reduction, anti-collision, anti-friction, heat preservation, thermal insulation and other regulation functions as well as solid matter as bracket to support the balanced and smooth earth motion.
Gas and oil in the shale refers to gas and liquid filled in rocks, which prevents friction or collision between rocks in the process of the earth motion and avoids fire caused by friction between rocks effectively as well as shock (i.e. earthquake), collapse, tsunami and landslide caused by collision between rocks.
As for shale gas of shale oil is inadvisable, let’s review the petroleum development history together. The United States is the place of origin of petroleum industry. The first modern oil well in the world was invested and developed nearby an “oil creek” in Titusville Village of Pennsylvania, the U.S. The U.S. is the country that the extent of petroleum exploitation and development is the highest in the world, in which 33 of the 50 states produce oil. More than 30,000 oil and gas fields have been found totally in the United States (which accounts for three fourth of the total number of world oil and gas field) including more than 20,000 oil fields and 10,000 gas fields. As the country which the total production volume of petroleum is the most in the world, the total volume of petroleum exploitation of the U.S. is 24 billion tonne.
How much space can 24 billion tonne petroleum as well as petroleum production volume of Middle East and other countries hollow out the crust? Detailed statistical data is unavailable, but the total volume might be more than double that of 24 billion tonne petroleum, the total volume of petroleum exploitation of the United States.
The above data shows that the internal structure of the earth has been seriously destroyed by hollowing out year by year.
At the beginning of the 20th century, the focus of exploitation in the United States shifted to the central and western region. By 1910, the central and western regions had become the important oil-production areas in the United States. The western region, mainly California, has a history of more than 110 years.
Exploitation technology for Shale Gas and Shale Oil comes from the United States. At present, there are three main methods: hydraulic fracturing, steam injection and carbon dioxide injection. Hydraulic fracturing (also called fracking) is to inject water (often mixed with chemical substances) into oil well to crack the rock layer and to release the trapped oil and natural gas. Steam injection techniques used by petroleum companies are steam drive technology and cyclic steaming technology. When steam drive is used, a plenty of water is heated into steam and is injected into oil deposit respectively to heat up a large area of petroleum deposit and reduce viscosity of petroleum by heat and enable it to flow into the oil producing well. Carbon dioxide injection is to inject carbon dioxide into rock, which may squeeze out the trapped oil and enable it to flow into the oil well more smoothly. This is a new technology which is widely used in Texas and New Mexico in recent years.
Hydraulic fracturing, the first method, is likely to destroy the solid material (rock) severely which supports the crust to result in frequent earthquakes and possible partial collapse. Also, extracting shale oil and shale gas is likely to destroy the natural protective layer (natural gas and oil) which plays the role of reducing pressure, lubrication, anti-collision, anti-friction, heat preservation and cooling in the earth's motion to result in friction of the destroyed rocks in that area in the earth's motion and igniting the residual natural gas and oil in shale rock to cause occurrence of mountain fire directly.
Steam injection, the second method, heats up a large area of petroleum deposit, causing surface temperature to rise and accordingly leading to a gradual warming of the global climate.
Carbon dioxide injection, the third method, with little degree of damage to the crust and likely reduced degree of damage to the surface temperature, is more advanced than the first and the second exploitation methods for shale gas and shale oil. However, carbon dioxide injected into the shale underground will continually drift toward the surface in the process of the earth's motion due to squeeze of the rock to increase the amount of carbon dioxide above the ground to result in new air pollution.
From 2000 to 2007, understanding and technical breakthrough stage to shale oil of the United States, with the successful application of horizontal wells and hydraulic fracturing technology, the output increased rapidly, reaching 200 million tons in 2014 and 300 million tons in 2018.
However, what followed is mountain fire in California, which occurs every year since 2015 and is difficult to extinguish with larger and larger area year by year. By September 10th, 2020, the fire area in California is over 12,500 square kilometres, which broken the historical record.
The video shot by a local resident shows that, when the mountain fire in California occurs, the flames were rising from the ground and the trees were ignited and burnt and the fire was spreading continually to be a raging fire that is difficult to extinguish.
It is worth mentioning that in California, especially in Southern California, the lowest temperature all year round is 20℃ or so, the lowest temperature in Northern California is higher than 6℃, comparing with other countries and regions at the same latitude (such as northeast China and northern Japan), the temperature in winter is 20 to 30℃ higher. This is closely related to the over exploitation of petroleum in California for more than 110 years.
Look at the situation of China, with the gradual reduction of shale gas exploitation cost and rapid release of production capacity, China's shale gas development has entered a period of rapid growth. At present, China's shale gas exploitation has entered the outbreak stage and shale gas resources have been found in many places. Sichuan has become the main exploitation site and the largest shale gas producing area in China. In Southern Sichuan, the output of shale gas in 2018 reached 4.2 billion cubic metres. In 2017, there were merely 38 well drilled in Southern Sichuan. By the end of 2018, it had reached 143, a triple increase.
However, what followed was the forest fire occurred in Muli County, Liangshan Prefecture, Sichuan Province, at 18 o'clock, March 30th, 2019, which had not been extinguished until April 5th. The ignition point was about 3,800 metres above sea level. Many fire points were on cliffs. This fire killed 27 forest firefighters and 3 local cadres and the masses. At 15 o'clock, March 30th, 2020, a forest fire occurred in Xichang City, Liangshan Prefecture, Sichuan Province. The fire spread rapidly and endangered the urban area of Xichang. A plenty of dense smoke floated into the city. The forest fire caused many casualties.
The above data and facts show that exploiting shale gas and shale oil is inadvisable indeed! But why it is unable to be prohibited and has got a rapid and large-scale development in many places all over the world? The reason is very simple. Energy demand is increasing sharply. Competition among countries is intensifying. Dispute of interests is increasingly tense. Contradiction between supply and demand is difficult to solve.
Protecting the earth is protecting human being ourselves. I hope various countries in the world to take effective measures to reduce over-reliance to underground resources and to reduce and even completely eradicate development and utilization to shale gas and shale oil, develop more environment-friendly renewable energy sources as soon as possible to reduce destroy to the crust as much as possible. (Date source: Geographical Dictionary and Baidu Search)