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Révolutionnaire Team

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The Effects of Oil Drilling and Fracking on the Environment


The world we live in offers us a plethora of natural resources to make our lives more efficient. However, sometimes, accessing these resources does more damage than good. Indeed, there are a number of concerns associated with the process of drilling, used to access crude oil and fracking, used to access natural gas. Oil drilling happens when “tubing is bored through the Earth's surface, and a well is established. A pump is connected to the tube and the petroleum under the surface is forcibly removed from underground.” (Jason Chavis) On the other hand, “is the process of drilling down into the earth before a high-pressure water mixture is directed at the rock to release the gas inside. Water, sand, and chemicals are injected into the rock at high pressure, allowing the gas to flow out to the head of the well.” (BBC News)


Both crude oil and natural gases have brought us benefits. Oil is to make gasoline and diesel, jet fuel, propane, and asphalt. It is a nonrenewable resource, which means that it cannot be replenished, and drilling must continuously occur. Natural gases are used for electricity, heating, and transportation. Like crude oil, it is also a nonrenewable resource. It is undeniable that life as we know it would be vastly different without these two resources, but their extraction poses a danger to the environment.


We don’t have to look too far to remember the oil spills that have taken place worldwide. “From 2010 to 2020, there were more than 60 accidents resulting in 164,000 tonnes of oil being lost.” (Peter Mwai) The oil clings to animals, making it hard for them to swim while simultaneously blocking the sunlight from reaching under the water. As drilling occurs in the Arctic, polar bears can be affected by the accompanying pollution (Elaina Zachos). Chemical usage is synonymous with fracking. In fact, “The EPA identified 1,084 different chemicals reported as used in fracking formulas between 2005 and 2013. Common ingredients include methanol, ethylene glycol, and propargyl alcohol. Those chemicals, along with many others used in fracking fluid, are considered hazardous to human health.” (Melissa Denchak). Fracking has also been connected to earthquakes, with research suggesting that a 5.7 magnitude quake in Prague, Oklahoma in 2011 was linked to that process.



  • Oil drilling is used to access crude oil from the earth, while fracking is used to access natural gases.
  • Both crude oil and natural gases are nonrenewable resources, meaning that they cannot be replenished and must be continuously taken from the earth.
  • Oil is used to make gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, propane, and asphalt.
  • Natural gases are used for electricity, heating, and transportation.
  • Oil drilling presents risks like oil spills and pollution, while fracking has been tied to earthquakes and possible water contamination.



BBC News (2018). What is Fracking, and Why is it Controversial? Retrieved 23.04.2021 from https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-14432401

Chavis, J., (2018). What is Oil Drilling? Retrieved 23.04.2021 from https://sciencing.com/facts-5019362-oil-drilling.html

Chen, J., (2021). Crude Oil. Retrieved 23.04.2021 from https://www.investopedia.com/terms/c/crude-oil.asp

Crumbley, K., (2015). 7 Important Uses for Crude Oil and Why it Matters. Retrieved 23.04.2021 from https://group.met.com/energy-insight/uses-of-natural-gas/5

Denchak, M., (2019). Fracking 101. Retrieved 23.04.2021 from https://www.nrdc.org/stories/fracking-101#whyis

Metropolitan Group (2020). Uses of Natural Gas: What is Natural Gas Used For? Retrieved 23.04.2021 from https://group.met.com/energy-insight/uses-of-natural-gas/5

Mwai, P., (2020). Mauritius Oil Spill: Are Major Incidents Less Frequent? Retrieved 23.04.2021 from https://www.bbc.com/news/world-53757747

Wertz, J., (2013). Oklahoma Earthquake was Largest Linked to Injection Wells, Studies Suggest. Retrieved 23.04.2021 from https://stateimpact.npr.org/oklahoma/2013/03/26/oklahoma-earthquake-was-largest-linked-to-injection-...

Zachos, E., (2018). Trump’s Offshore Drilling Plan – What You Need to Know. Retrieved 23.04.2021 from https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/article/trump-administration-announces-offshore-drilling-...