What's the Latest Development?
Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, currently provides the US with 30 percent of its natural gas supply, making it the only country using the procedure on a large scale. Now, other countries who want to take advantage of their underground resources as well as improvements in fracking technology have begun to explore this method of extraction. The Energy Information Administration, a governmental agency, estimates that gas from shale deposits will increase global reserves by 40 percent.
What's the Big Idea?
Despite advances in the technology, fracking is a challenging procedure, and its side effects, including water contamination and even earthquakes, are serious enough to warrant delays and outright bans in several countries. In addition, political instability is preventing some energy companies from making inroads in countries like Ukraine. Laszlo Varro of the intergovernmental International Energy Agency (IEA) says that China will most likely follow the US in amount of output even though geological evaluations are still incomplete. As for the dangers, an IEA report released late last year suggests that with strict regulations "fracking will be all boon and no bane."
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