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What the frack

“Our commitment to high ethical standards, legal compliance, and integrity is reflected in our safety and environmental policies and practices worldwide”……”We believe that it is possible to obtain the energy the world needs while also protecting people and the environment”. These are two quotes pulled directly from Exxon Mobil’s website under “Safety & environment“. From the looks of it, Exxon seems to be carrying out its business operations in a sound and ethical way. Let’s take a closer look.

For those that are not aware, over the past couple years energy companies have been exploring with new techniques for extracting natural gas known as hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking“. This is especially for unique for us Bucknellians as our surrounding area contains huge reservoirs (Marcellus Shale) of natural gas that is being extracted using the fracking techniques. Fracking has become increasingly popular over the past couple years because it is a “safe” way to extract large amounts of natural gas with great efficiency. Moreover, there is much more certainty with fracking; energy companies know the gas is down there as opposed to the risk associated with drilling for oil (it may or may not be there).

The link above gives a brief overview of how fracking is carried out and also the side effects of the new technique.

This video, although somewhat sarcastic and childish, gets the point across of the effects of fracking on the water supply of nearby residents. This is a serious problem. Is this what Exxon meant by referring to itself as “ethical”. I beg to differ Exxon. I think the video brings up a good point in saying that fracking should not be completely outlawed but needs tighter regulations. This seems to be a reoccurring theme, right? Enron, AIG, fracking….what else can we add to the list?

Overall, I think companies should be held more accountable for things that are published, such as the statements above. Clearly the practice of fracking is not in line with these guidelines and there should be consequences. I know there’s false advertising so does this fall under a similar category?



About Patrick

I am a Junior Management major, member of Bucknell's football team, and current president of Phi Gamma Delta fraternity.


6 thoughts on “What the frack

  1. It is sometimes hard to determine whether something is ethical or not. As any company likes to keep up the innovation, this case of Exxon experimenting with new ways of extracting natural gas doesn’t come as a surprise. In doing so though, there are negative ramifications with this “fracking” technique. I had first heard of this term from a documentary, Gasland. In this documentary, various families are asked about the effects they’re experiencing. It’s extremely scary to see a man put a match up to his faucet, run the water, and see the water ignite into flames!

    I agree that some companies need to be held more accountable. But, in the same token, I feel what most companies display in their ethical codes of conducts, or in this case their “Safety & Environment” tab, it is more an aspirational goal rather than reality.

    Posted by Danielle Marquette | February 14, 2012, 1:48 pm
  2. Patrick, I have been concerned about this “fracking” for some time now. This action is a blatant violation of Exxon’s Safety & Environment policies, thus I wonder how such a process is even remotely rationalized in this corporation. Furthermore, I am extremely concerned as to how Exxon would even allow such a process to be performed after such disasters as their oil spill. If they can not learn from their previous mistakes, how can they even claim to serve in the best interest of the environment. I will be pursuing further statements from Exxon about this “fracking” process to examine their claims on this process.

    Posted by Derek | February 14, 2012, 10:22 pm


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