What is Shale Gas?
For the United States, EIA estimated a total "wet natural gas" resource of 2, tcf, including both shale and conventional gas. Natural gas and Environmental impact of hydraulic fracturing The extraction and use of shale gas can affect the environment through the leaking of extraction chemicals and waste into water supplies, the leaking of greenhouse gases during extraction, and the pollution caused by the improper processing of natural gas.
A challenge to preventing pollution is that shale gas extractions varies widely in this regard, even between different wells in the same project; the processes that reduce pollution sufficiently in one extraction may not be enough in another. In a letter to President Obama, Martin Apple of the Council of Scientific Society Presidents cautioned against a national policy of developing shale gas without a more certain scientific basis for the policy.
This umbrella organization that represents 1. Environmental Protection Agency  issued a new report, the first update on emission factors for greenhouse gas emissions by the oil and gas industry by the EPA since In this new report, the EPA concluded that shale gas emits larger amounts of methanea potent greenhouse gasthan does conventional gas, but still far less than coal.
Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas, although it stays in the atmosphere for only one tenth as long a period as carbon dioxide. Recent evidence suggests that methane has a global warming potential GWP that is fold greater than carbon dioxide when viewed over a year period and fold greater when viewed over a year period, compared mass-to-mass.
The study reports direct measurements from onshore natural gas sites across the country and estimates a leakage rate of 0.
Although the EDF study did not cover all stages of natural gas supply chain, subsequent studies are planned to estimate leakage rates in others parts of the system. A study published in Climatic Change Letters controversially claimed that the production of electricity using shale gas may lead to as much or more life-cycle GWP than electricity generated with oil or coal.
Howarth, a marine ecologist, and colleagues claimed that once methane leak and venting impacts are included, the life-cycle greenhouse gas footprint of shale gas is far worse than those of coal and fuel oil when viewed for the integrated year period after emission.
On the year integrated time frame, this analysis claims shale gas is comparable to coal and worse than fuel oil.
Department of Energy,  peer-reviewed studies by Carnegie Mellon University  and the University of Maryland,  and even the Natural Resources Defense Councilwhich concluded that the Howarth et al.
Environmental Protection Agency dramatically lowered its estimate of how much methane leaks from wells, pipelines and other facilities during production and delivery of natural gas by 20 percent.
According to the Associated Press, the EPA report on greenhouse emissions credited tighter pollution controls instituted by the industry for cutting an average of The authors concluded that, in line with most of the published studies for other regions, that shale gas in the United Kingdom would have a global warming potential "broadly similar" to that of conventional North Sea gas, although shale gas has the potential to be higher if fugitive methane emissions are not controlled, or if per-well ultimate recoveries in the UK are small.
For the other parameters, the highlighted conclusions were that, for shale gas in the United Kingdom in comparison with coal, conventional and liquefied gas, nuclear, wind and solar PV. Shale gas worse than coal for three impacts and better than renewables for four. It has higher photochemical smog and terrestrial toxicity than the other options.
Shale gas a sound environmental option only if accompanied by stringent regulation.
Fracturing fluid is primarily water and approximately 0. Since depending on the size of the area millions of liters of water are used, this means that hundreds of thousands liters of chemicals are often injected into the subsurface.
The remaining volume remains in the subsurface. Hydraulic fracturing opponents fear that it can lead to contamination of groundwater aquifersthough the industry deems this "highly unlikely".
However, foul-smelling odors and heavy metals contaminating the local water supply above-ground have been reported. This reduces the environmental degradation considerably. The method was invented by GasFrac, of Alberta, Canada. However, the study does not discuss how pervasive such contamination might be in other areas drilled for shale gas.
The EPA stated that the finding was specific to the Pavillion area, where the fracking techniques differ from those used in other parts of the U. Doug Hock, a spokesman for the company which owns the Pavillion gas field, said that it is unclear whether the contamination came from the fracking process.
This study blames known instances of methane contamination on a small number of sub-standard operations, and encourages the use of industry best practices to prevent such events from recurring. Environmental Protection Agency announced that it had completed its testing of private drinking water wells in Dimock, Pennsylvania.
Data previously supplied to the agency by residents, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, and Cabot Oil and Gas Exploration had indicated levels of arsenic, barium or manganese in well water at five homes at levels that could present a health concern.
In response, water treatment systems that can reduce concentrations of those hazardous substances to acceptable levels at the tap were installed at affected homes.
Based on the outcome of sampling after the treatment systems were installed, the EPA concluded that additional action by the Agency was not required. Radium levels in the sediment at the discharge point are around times the amount upstream of the facility.
The radium levels are "above regulated levels" and present the "danger of slow bio-accumulation" eventually in fish. The Duke study "is the first to use isotope hydrology to connect the dots between shale gas waste, treatment sites and discharge into drinking water supplies.Unconventional oil and natural gas play a key role in our nation's clean energy future.
The U.S. has vast reserves of such resources that are commercially viable as a result of advances in horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing technologies..
These technologies enable greater access to oil and natural gas in shale formations. Shale Gas You are here. States often have the lead role in regulating shale gas development activities; many federal requirements have been delegated to states.
Produced water is naturally occurring water found in shale formations; it generally flows to the surface during the entire lifespan of a well.
How this often highly saline. ) review the current status of shale gas development and discuss the possible threats to water resources. In one of the hotbeds of fracking activity, the Marcellus Shale in the eastern United States, there is little evidence that additives have directly entered groundwater supplies, but the risk remains.
Development of shale natural gas resources requires consideration of data involving air, water, waste, cultural and paleontological resources, wildlife, economics, social .
Water-resource issues associated with development of the Marcellus play include the 1) impact of surface-water and groundwater withdrawals for hydraulic fracturing during low-flow periods, 2) disposal of black-shale drill cuttings that may produce acidic, metals-rich drainage with elevated radioisotopes, and 3) treatment of hydraulic-fracturing.
This webpage has been developed to answer the many questions that people have about shale gas and hydraulic fracturing (or fracking). The information provided below explains the basics, including what shale gas is, where it’s found, why it’s important, how it’s .