Hydrofracking - Social Context of Business

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Evaluation of Talisman Energy’s Hydraulic
Fracturing Practises in Hudson Hope

To meet the demand of oil in today’s oil dependent society, Talisman Energy is looking to exploit a mine located in Hudson Hope, British Colombia. The most suitable extraction process is hydraulic fracturing, which currently presents several environmental concerns to the residents located near the mine, and a representation of the general public who believe that hydraulic fracturing is not an ethical method of extraction. Talisman Energy has recently been granted a long term contract to utilize fresh water from BC Hydro’s Williston Reservoir. Local residents are concerned about the additives used in Talismans fracking process, as well as the depletion of their fresh water source. The major environmental concerns associated with hydraulic fracturing include the presence of fracking additives in ground water supply, human induced earthquakes, and the use of large amounts of fresh water supply. Talisman Energy’s proposed plan of action was evaluated using a set of ethical decision making criteria in order to determine if Talisman Energy can be considered an ethical and socially responsible company. An analysis of the criteria determined that Talisman Energy currently fails to operate as an ethical and socially responsible company. Specifically, Talisman Energy did not take the initiative to evaluate more sustainable fresh water sources. It was concluded that upon further exploration in water management technology, Talisman Energy’s hydraulic fracturing project has the potential to satisfy the ethical decision making criteria.

BACKGROUND – Hydraulic Fracturing
Hydraulic fracturing is a technology used in the oil and gas industry in order extract fossil fuels used as a source of energy. The technology has been in use since the 1940’s, and has been used in at an industrial level since the 1990s. Although Canada is in possession of an abundance of natural gas resources, most cannot be extracted without hydrofracking technology. This technology permits the production of oil and natural gas in places where conventional technologies are not effective. It is estimated that up to 80 percent of natural gas wells drilled in the next decade will require hydraulic fracturing1. |

Hydraulic Fracturing uses water pressure to create fractures in rock that allow the oil and natural gas it contains to escape and flow out of a well. A Hydraulic fracture is made by pumping fracking fluid into the well at a fast rate allowing for pressure increase and crack propagation. A solid, often in the form of sand is then added to the injected fracking fluid to keep the fracture open2. The pressure gradient created allows the flow of fluids of interest, such as natural gas, to be pumped to the surface. This process ultimately allows for a significantly faster flow rate of the natural gas to the surface, making it economically feasible.

Hydraulic fracturing performed under “best practises” ensures a well regulated and safe procedure. However, recent opinion challenges the ethical integrity of fracking, as the process is subject to several environmental concerns. The majority of the criticism concerns the leakage of fracking chemicals into the ground water, as well as the amount of water required to perform the fracking procedure.

INTRODUCTION – Talisman Energy
Talisman Energy is one of Canada’s largest petroleum exploration companies, with world wide operations. It was established in 1992 and is headquartered in Calgary, Canada. Currently, Talismans largest projects are drilling of their oil and natural gas assets in North America, Southeast Asia, and an offshore drilling location in the North Sea3. Their business strategy focuses on three defined components: establishing safe long term growth from its shale operations in Southeast Asia and North America, maintaining their current high-impact exploration as the forefront of international...
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