Hydraulic fracturing technology, called fracking, has been around since the 1940s but has recently gained attention as the energy industry expanded cleaner natural gas production.

The inaugural Energy Census from business intelligence company Polecat says it is a big topic, with energy writers noting that CO2 emissions from energy have plummeted and coal emissions have gone even farther back in time, to the days of the first Reagan administration. Meanwhile, detractors claim it causes headaches and cancer (cancer has been the go-to disease for everything since Rachel Carson made up a scare about DDT 50 years ago) and even that it could cause the earth to deflate.

Due to the manufactured controversy (echoed in Keystone XL, which environmental activists never heard of, nor knew the the Ogallala aquifier had 20,000 miles of pipeline on it, before President Obama was ready to improve adding 400 more), fracking is big news.   Polecat says fracking was 20% of the entire global conversation on gas - even offshore drilling couldn't hold onto its commanding presence among activist community after the BP oil spill.

Top Topics

1) Natural Gas: 549,256
2) Energy Companies: 160,314
3) Investment: 145,681
4) Fracking: 139,002
5) Offshore: 103,508

Top Energy Companies Cited

1) Shell: 23,038
2) Exxon: 18,464
3) BP: 18,362
4) Chesapeake Energy: 17,772
5) Chevron: 12,710

Indicating a buoyant and growing investment outlook for the gas industry, 93% of all conversations about investment in gas is healthy, the highest rating for any gas-related topic. Likewise, overall sentiment towards the global gas industry is overwhelmingly positive with 83% of all conversation online classed as healthy.

 The Energy Census on gas, conducted over a six month period (March-September 2012), was created using the MeaningMine platform that turns big data about the world's online energy conversation into intelligence. It ingests millions of pieces of online content every day, ranging from online news to social media, to create strategic in-depth insights. 

 In total, there were over 780,000 articles and social media posts about the gas industry over the last six months, at an average of 130,000 per month indicating huge global interest in the gas industry. The US is the dominant nation cited in 11% of postings ahead of Canada (8%), China (7%) and the UK (7%). 

 Pat Butler, Partner, Resolution, said, "There are over 4,300 articles and social media posts online about gas every single day, the inaugural Energy Census from Polecat tells us. That's an impressively large and extensive conversation, and the focus of the discussions on the topics of investment in the industry and fracking is noteworthy. On the investment issues in particular, the tone of the conversations are 93% positive, and the growing appreciation of how gas investment could impact the economics of many other industries is striking."