A Chevron Corporation (NYSE:CVX) fracking site went up in flames last week, burning for four days and presumably killing one worker, whose body has yet to be recovered. The flames also ignited a propane tank and the resulting explosion resulted in injuries to first responders. Like any company, Chevron has expressed regret over the incident, however, the company’s apology may only fan the flames, so to speak. Chevron Corporation (NYSE:CVX) is offering nearby residents free “pizza and soda”.

Apparently, Chevron Corporation (NYSE:CVX)’s way to make up for the tragic accident, which has shaken the rural community of Bobtown both literally and figuratively, is to offer nearby residents a coupon for one free pizza and one free two liter soda. Copies of the certificate and the accompanying letter are now circulating the web, and the company has confirmed that this is not a joke, but a token of appreciation.

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The public relations fallout from the stunt might actually overshadow the negative feedback generated by the explosion itself. Fracking is a dangerous process and accidents do occur, so the resulting explosion wasn’t exactly breaking news. The company’s poor response, however, has ignited the web and is drawing plenty of criticism.

Explosion highlights controversial nature of fracking

Fracking has become a controversial topic to say the least. Proponents argue that fracking will allow the United States to become energy independent and will create thousands of well-paying jobs. Opponents argue that fracking causes pollution and massive environmental damage.

Proponents point out that drilling for oil is risky no matter the method used. For better or worse, however, the world economy remains dependent on oil, and demand will generate supply. While increasing safety and decreasing the risk of accidents has become a priority, risks still remain.

For now, the benefits and drawbacks of fracking remain highly controversial. The U.S. government, however, remains firmly in support of fracking, so for now the controversial oil extraction method will remain widespread.

Chevron just a piece of the overall puzzle

The United States has actually been able to become a net exporter of oil. The U.S. is now one of the world’s leading producers of crude oil, largely due to the new production being generated by fracking. With oil prices hovering around $100 dollars a barrel and demand for oil from emerging market surging, identifying new oil reserves has become a priority.

The process works by injecting liquids into the fissures and cracks of the Earth’s crust to push oil out. This process is highly controversial and its environmental impacts remain largely unknown. The accident in Bobtown will only fuel critics, however, and the negative publicity from the pizza stunt is already being felt industry wide.