shale gas

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shale gas
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{{For|gas generated by oil shale pyrolysis and also referred as shale gas|Oil shale gas}}{{Use dmy dates|date=July 2019}}File:EIA World Shale Gas Map.png|thumb|500px|48 structural basins with shale gas and oil, in 38 countries, per the US Energy Information AdministrationEnergy Information Administration(File:Shale Gas Production US Canada China.png|thumb|400px|As of 2013, the US, Canada, and China are the only countries producing shale gas in commercial quantities. The US and Canada are the only countries where shale gas is a significant part of the gas supply.)(File:Gas weekly USA.svg|thumb|400px|Total natural gas rig count in the US (including conventional gas drilling))Shale gas is natural gas that is found trapped within shale formations.WEB,weblink U.S. Energy Information Administration,, 2013-08-06, Shale gas has become an increasingly important source of natural gas in the United States since the start of this century, and interest has spread to potential gas shales in the rest of the world. In 2000 shale gas provided only 1% of U.S. natural gas production; by 2010 it was over 20% and the U.S. government's Energy Information Administration predicts that by 2035, 46% of the United States' natural gas supply will come from shale gas.JOURNAL,weblink The 'Shale Gas Revolution': Developments and Changes, Chatham House, 15 August 2012, Stevens, Paul, August 2012, Some analysts expect that shale gas will greatly expand worldwide energy supply.NEWS,weblink New way to tap gas may expand global supplies,, 2013-08-06, China is estimated to have the world's largest shale gas reserves.Staff (5 April 2011) World Shale Gas Resources: An Initial Assessment of 14 Regions Outside the United States US Energy Information Administration, Analysis and Projections, Retrieved 26 August 2012The Obama administration believed that increased shale gas development would help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.WEB,weblink ''Statement on U.S.-China shale gas resource initiative,, 2009-11-17, 2013-08-06, In 2012, US carbon dioxide emissions dropped to a 20-year low.Carey, Julie M. (7 December 2012) Surprise Side Effect Of Shale Gas Boom: A Plunge In U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions Forbes magazine, Retrieved 21 February 2013A 2013 review by the United Kingdom Department of Energy and Climate Change noted that most studies of the subject have estimated that life-cycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from shale gas are similar to those of conventional natural gas, and are much less than those from coal, usually about half the greenhouse gas emissions of coal; the noted exception was a 2011 study by Howarth and others of Cornell University, which concluded that shale GHG emissions were as high as those of coal.David J. C. MacKay and Timothy J. Stone, Potential Greenhouse Gas Emissions Associated with Shale Gas Extraction and Use, 9 September 2013. MacKay and Stone wrote (p.3): "The Howarth estimate may be unrealistically high, as discussed in Appendix A, and should be treated with caution."WEB, Robert, Howarth, Renee, Sontaro, Anthony, Ingraffea, Methane and the greenhouse-gas footprint of natural gas from shale formations,, 12 November 2010,weblink 13 March 2011, More recent studies have also concluded that life-cycle shale gas GHG emissions are much less than those of coal,Burnham and others, "Life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions of shale gas, natural gas, coal, and petroleum", Environmental Science and Technology, 17 January 2012, v.46 n.2 p.619-627.WEB, Martha, Keating, Ellen, Baum, Amy, Hennen, Cradle to Grave: The Environmental Impacts from Coal, Clean Air Task Force, June 2001,weblink 2 October 2013, James Conca, Fugitive Fracking Gets Bum Rap, Forbes, 18 February 2013.Why Every Serious Environmentalist Should Favour Fracking, 2013 report by Richard A. Muller and Elizabeth A. Muller of Berkeley Earth among them, studies by Natural Resources Canada (2012),Natural Resources Canada, Shale gas, 14 December 2012. and a consortium formed by the US National Renewable Energy Laboratory with a number of universities (2012).Jeffrey Logan, Garvin Heath, and Jordan Macknick, Elizabeth Paranhos, William Boyd, and Ken Carlson, Natural Gas and the Transformation of the U.S. Energy Sector: Electricity, Technical Report NREL/TP-6A50-55538, Nov. 2012.Some 2011 studies pointed to high rates of decline of some shale gas wells as an indication that shale gas production may ultimately be much lower than is currently projected.David Hughes (May 2011). "Will Natural Gas Fuel America in the 21st Century?" Post Carbon Institute, weblinkWEB, Arthur Berman,weblink After the gold rush: A perspective on future U.S. natural gas supply and price,, 8 February 2011, 2013-08-06, But shale-gas discoveries are also opening up substantial new resources of tight oil / "shale oil".Syed Rashid Husain. "Shale Gas Revolution Changes Geopolitics." Saudi Gazette. 24 February 2013. weblink



(File:Marcellus Shale Gas Drilling Tower 1 crop.jpg|thumb|Derrick and platform of drilling gas wells in Marcellus Shale – Pennsylvania)Shale gas was first extracted as a resource in Fredonia, New York, in 1821,WEB, KEN MILAM, EXPLORER Correspondent,weblink Name the gas industry birthplace: Fredonia, N.Y.?,, 2013-08-06, WEB,weblink New York's natural gas history – a long story, but not the final chapter, 17 May 2012, in shallow, low-pressure fractures. Horizontal drilling began in the 1930s, and in 1947 a well was first fracked in the U.S.Federal price controls on natural gas led to shortages in the 1970s.Zhongmin Wang and Alan Krupnick, A Retrospective Review of Shale Gas Development in the United States, Resources for the Futures, Apr. 2013. Faced with declining natural gas production, the federal government invested in many supply alternatives, including the Eastern Gas Shales Project, which lasted from 1976 to 1992, and the annual FERC-approved research budget of the Gas Research Institute, where the federal government began extensive research funding in 1982, disseminating the results to industry. The federal government also provided tax credits and rules benefiting the industry in the 1980 Energy Act. The Department of Energy later partnered with private gas companies to complete the first successful air-drilled multi-fracture horizontal well in shale in 1986. The federal government further incentivized drilling in shale via the Section 29 tax credit for unconventional gas from 1980–2000. Microseismic imaging, a crucial input to both hydraulic fracturing in shale and offshore oil drilling, originated from coalbeds research at Sandia National Laboratories. The DOE program also applied two technologies that had been developed previously by industry, massive hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, to shale gas formations,WEB, KEN MILAM, EXPLORER Correspondent,weblink Proceedings from the 2nd Annual Methane Recovery from Coalbeds Symposium,, 2013-08-06, which led to microseismic imaging.Although the Eastern Gas Shales Project had increased gas production in the Appalachian and Michigan basins, shale gas was still widely seen as marginal to uneconomic without tax credits, and shale gas provided only 1.6% of US gas production in 2000, when the federal tax credits expired.Zhongmin Wang and Alan Krupnick, A Retrospective Review of Shale Gas Development in the United States, Resources for the Futures, Apr. 2013.George P. Mitchell is regarded as the father of the shale gas industry, since he made it commercially viable in the Barnett Shale by getting costs down to $4 per {{convert|1|e6BTU|MJ|abbr=off|lk=in}}.WEB,weblink Will Natural Gas Stay Cheap Enough To Replace Coal And Lower US Carbon Emissions, Forbes, 2013-08-06, Mitchell Energy achieved the first economical shale fracture in 1998 using slick-water fracturing.WEB,weblink Americans Gaining Energy Independence, Bloomberg, 6 February 2012, 1 March 2012, Miller, Rich, Loder, Asjylyn, Polson, Jim, WEB,weblink The Breakthrough Institute. Interview with Dan Steward, former Mitchell Energy Vice President. December 2011,, 2013-08-06, NEWS,weblink America's bounty: Gas works, The Economist, 2012-07-14, 2013-08-06, Since then, natural gas from shale has been the fastest growing contributor to total primary energy in the United States, and has led many other countries to pursue shale deposits. According to the IEA, shale gas could increase technically recoverable natural gas resources by almost 50%.WEB,weblink International Energy Agency (IEA). "World Energy Outlook Special Report on Unconventional Gas: Golden Rules for a Golden Age of Gas?", 2013-08-06,


(File:(Non) Conventional Deposits.svg|thumb|500px|An illustration of shale gas compared to other types of gas deposits.)Because shales ordinarily have insufficient permeability to allow significant fluid flow to a wellbore, most shales are not commercial sources of natural gas. Shale gas is one of a number of unconventional sources of natural gas; others include coalbed methane, tight sandstones, and methane hydrates. Shale gas areas are often known as resource playsDan Jarvie, "Worldwide shale resource plays," PDF file, NAPE Forum, 26 August 2008. (as opposed to exploration plays). The geological risk of not finding gas is low in resource plays, but the potential profits per successful well are usually also lower.{{Citation needed|date=July 2011}}Shale has low matrix permeability, and so gas production in commercial quantities requires fractures to provide permeability. Shale gas has been produced for years from shales with natural fractures; the shale gas boom in recent years has been due to modern technology in hydraulic fracturing (fracking) to create extensive artificial fractures around well bores.{{Citation needed|date=July 2011}}Horizontal drilling is often used with shale gas wells, with lateral lengths up to {{convert|10000|ft|m}} within the shale, to create maximum borehole surface area in contact with the shale.{{Citation needed|date=July 2011}}Shales that host economic quantities of gas have a number of common properties. They are rich in organic material (0.5% to 25%),US Department of Energy, "Modern shale gas development in the United States," April 2009, p.17. and are usually mature petroleum source rocks in the thermogenic gas window, where high heat and pressure have converted petroleum to natural gas. They are sufficiently brittle and rigid enough to maintain open fractures.Some of the gas produced is held in natural fractures, some in pore spaces, and some is adsorbed onto the organic material. The gas in the fractures is produced immediately; the gas adsorbed onto organic material is released as the formation pressure is drawn down by the well.{{Citation needed|date=July 2011}}

Shale gas by country

Although the shale gas potential of many nations is being studied, as of 2013, only the US, Canada, and China produce shale gas in commercial quantities, and only the US and Canada have significant shale gas production.US Energy Information Administration, North America leads the world in production of shale gas, 23 October 2013. While China has ambitious plans to dramatically increase its shale gas production, these efforts have been checked by inadequate access to technology, water, and land.A Comparison between Shale Gas in China and Unconventional Fuel Development in the United States: Water, Environmental Protection, and Sustainable Development, Farah, Paolo Davide; Tremolada, Riccardo in Brooklyn Journal of International Law, Vol. 41, No. 2, 2016, June 2016.China's Coming Decade of Natural Gas?, Damien Ma in Asia's Uncertain LNG Future, The National Bureau of Asian Research, November 2013.The table below is based on data collected by the Energy Information Administration agency of the United States Department of Energy.WEB, Technically Recoverable Shale Oil and Shale Gas Resources: An Assessment of 137 Shale Formations in 41 Countries Outside the United States,weblink 13 June 2013, Analysis and projections, United States Energy Information Administration, Numbers for the estimated amount of "technically recoverable" " Technically recoverable resources represent the volumes of oil and natural gas that could be produced with current technology, regardless of oil and natural gas prices and production costs. Technically recoverable resources are determined by multiplying the risked in-place oil or natural gas by a recovery factor." weblink shale gas resources are provided alongside numbers for proven natural gas reserves.{| class="wikitable sortable" style="text-align:right"!!!Country!!Estimated technically recoverable shale gas{{nobold|(trillion cubic feet)}}!!Proven natural gas reserves of all types{{nobold|(trillion cubic feet)}}!! Date of Report
The US EIA had made an earlier estimate of total recoverable shale gas in various countries in 2011, which for some countries differed significantly from the 2013 estimates.US Energy Information Administration, World Shale Gas Resources, Apr. 2011. The total recoverable shale gas in the United States, which was estimated at 862 trillion cubic feet in 2011, was revised downward to 665 trillion cubic feet in 2013. Recoverable shale gas in Canada, which was estimated to be 388 TCF in 2011, was revised upward to 573 TCF in 2013.For the United States, EIA estimated (2013) a total "wet natural gas" resource of 2,431 tcf, including both shale and conventional gas. Shale gas was estimated to be 27% of the total resource. "Wet natural gas" is methane plus natural gas liquids, and is more valuable than dry gas.WEB,weblink What's The Difference Between Wet And Dry Natural Gas?,, 2014-01-13, What Makes Wet Gas Wet?For the rest of the world (excluding US), EIA estimated (2013) a total wet natural gas resource of {{convert|20451|e12cuft}}. Shale gas was estimated to be 32% of the total resource.Europe has estimated shale gas reserves of {{convert|639|e12cuft}} compared with America's {{convert|862|e12cuft}}, but its geology is more complicated and the oil and gas more expensive to extract, with a well likely to cost as much as three-and-a-half times more than one in the United States.JOURNAL, Morton, Michael Quentin, Unlocking the Earth: A Short History of Hydraulic Fracturing, GeoExpro, 10, 6,weblink 27 February 2014, 2013-12-09, Europe would be the fastest growing region, accounting for the highest CAGR of 59.5%, in terms of volume owing to availability of shale gas reserves in more than 14 European countries.WEB,weblink Market report on Shale Gas Market Industry now available, Absolute Reports, Market Report, 1 February 2016, 15 July 2016,


{{See also|Natural gas#Environmental effects|Environmental impact of hydraulic fracturing|l1=Natural gas|l2=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 2013 the European Parliament agreed that environmental impact assessments will not be mandatory for shale gas exploration activities and shale gas extraction activities will be subject to the same terms as other gas extraction projects.WEB, EIA studies won't be required for shale gas exploration,weblink The Lithuania Tribune, 2013-12-24, 2013-12-31,


Barack Obama's administration has sometimes promoted shale gas, in part because of its belief that it releases fewer greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions than other fossil fuels. In a 2010 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 1.4 million scientists noted that shale gas development "may have greater GHG emissions and environmental costs than previously appreciated."Council of Scientific Society Presidents, weblink, letter to President Obama, 4 May 2009.In late 2010, the U.S. Environmental Protection AgencyEnvironmental Protection Agency "Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reporting from the Petroleum and Natural Gas Industry, Background Technical Support Document, posted to web 30 November 2010. issued a new report, the first update on emission factors for greenhouse gas emissions by the oil and gas industry by the EPA since 1996. In this new report, the EPA concluded that shale gas emits larger amounts of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, than 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 105-fold greater than carbon dioxide when viewed over a 20-year period and 33-fold greater when viewed over a 100-year period, compared mass-to-mass.JOURNAL, Improved Attribution of Climate Forcing to Emissions, Science, 326, 5953, 716–718, 2009-10-30, 10.1126/science.1174760, Shindell, D. T., Faluvegi, G., Koch, D. M., Schmidt, G. A., Unger, N., Bauer, S. E., Several studies which have estimated lifecycle methane leakage from shale gas development and production have found a wide range of leakage rates, from less than 1% of total production to nearly 8%.WEB, Alex, Trembath, Max, Luke, Michael, Shellenberger, Ted, Nordhaus, Coal Killer: How Natural Gas Fuels the Clean Energy Revolution, Breakthrough institute, 22, June 2013,weblink 2 October 2013, Using data from the Environmental Protection Agency's most recent Greenhouse Gas InventoryWEB,weblink U.S. Greenhouse Gas Inventory Report, United States Environmental Protection Agency, 2013-10-02, yields a methane leakage rate of about 1.4%, down from 2.3% from the EPA's previous Inventory.WEB,weblink 5 Reasons Why It's Still Important To Reduce Fugitive Methane Emissions, World Resources Institute, 2013-10-02, The most comprehensive study of methane leakage from shale gas to date, initiated by the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) and released in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on 16 September 2013,JOURNAL,weblink Measurements of methane emissions at natural gas production sites in the United States, Allen, David T., Torres, Vincent N., Thomas, James, Sullivan, David W., Harrison, Matthew, Hendler, Al, Herndon, Scott C., Kolb, Charles E., Fraser, Matthew P., Hill, A. Daniel, Lamb, Brian K., Miskimins, Jennifer, Sawyer, Robert F., Seinfeld, John H., Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 10.1073/pnas.1304880110, 24043804, 3816463, 16 September 2013, 2 October 2013, PDF, 110, 44, 17768–17773, finds that fugitive emissions in key stages of the natural gas production process are significantly lower than estimates in the EPA's national emissions inventory (which are already quite low). The study reports direct measurements from 190 onshore natural gas sites across the country and estimates a leakage rate of 0.42% for gas production. 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 2011 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.JOURNAL, Howarth, RW, Santoro, R, Ingraffea, A, 2011, Methane and the greenhouse-gas footprint of natural gas from shale formations, Climatic Change, 106, 4, 679–690, 10.1007/s10584-011-0061-5, In that peer-reviewed paper, Cornell University professor Robert W. 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 20-year period after emission. On the 100-year integrated time frame, this analysis claims shale gas is comparable to coal and worse than fuel oil. However, numerous studies have pointed out critical flaws with that paper and/or come to completely different conclusions, including assessments by experts at the U.S. Department of Energy,Timothy J. Skone, "Life Cycle Greenhouse Gas Analysis of Natural Gas Extraction & Delivery in the United States." National Energy Technology Laboratory, 12 May 2011 weblink peer-reviewed studies by Carnegie Mellon UniversityJOURNAL, 10.1088/1748-9326/6/3/034014, 6, 3, Life cycle greenhouse gas emissions of Marcellus shale gas, 2011, Environmental Research Letters, 034014, Jiang, Mohan, and the University of Maryland,JOURNAL, 10.1088/1748-9326/6/4/044008, 6, 4, The greenhouse impact of unconventional gas for electricity generation, 2011, Environmental Research Letters, 044008, Hultman, Nathan, and even the Natural Resources Defense Council, which concluded that the Howarth et al. paper's use of a 20-year time horizon for global warming potential of methane is "too short a period to be appropriate for policy analysis."Dan Lashof, "Natural Gas Needs Tighter Production Practices to Reduce Global Warming Pollution," 12 April 2011 WEB,weblink Archived copy, 2012-01-09, yes,weblink" title="">weblink 13 January 2012, In January 2012, Howarth's own colleagues at Cornell University, Lawrence Cathles et al., responded with their own peer-reviewed assessment, noting that the Howarth paper was "seriously flawed" because it "significantly overestimate[s] the fugitive emissions associated with unconventional gas extraction, undervalue[s] the contribution of 'green technologies' to reducing those emissions to a level approaching that of conventional gas, base[s] their comparison between gas and coal on heat rather than electricity generation (almost the sole use of coal), and assume[s] a time interval over which to compute the relative climate impact of gas compared to coal that does not capture the contrast between the long residence time of CO2 and the short residence time of methane in the atmosphere." The author of that response, Lawrence Cathles, concludes that "shale gas has a GHG footprint that is half and perhaps a third that of coal," based upon "more reasonable leakage rates and bases of comparison."JOURNAL, A commentary on "The greenhouse-gas footprint of natural gas in shale formations" by R.W. Howarth, R. Santoro, and Anthony Ingraffea, 10.1007/s10584-011-0333-0, 113, 2, Climatic Change, 525–535, 2012, Cathles, Lawrence M., In April 2013 the U.S. 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 41.6 million metric tons of methane emissions annually from 1990 through 2010, a reduction of more than 850 million metric tons overall. The AP noted, "The EPA revisions came even though natural gas production has grown by nearly 40 percent since 1990." WEB,weblink The Associated Press. "EPA lowered estimates of methane leaks during natural gas production"(The Houston Chronicle),, 2013-04-28, 2013-08-06,

Life cycle comparison for more than global warming potential

A 2014 study from Manchester University presented the "First full life cycle assessment of shale gas used for electricity generation." By full life cycle assessment, the authors explained that they mean the evaluation of nine environmental factors beyond the commonly performed evaluation of global warming potential. 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.JOURNAL, 10.1016/j.apenergy.2014.08.063, 134, Life cycle environmental impacts of UK shale gas, 2014, Applied Energy, 506–518, Stamford, Laurence, Azapagic, Adisa, Man Uni News article
Dr James Verdon has published a critique of the data produced, and the variables that may affect the results.Frackland{{unreliable source?|date=October 2014}}

Water and air quality

Chemicals are added to the water to facilitate the underground fracturing process that releases natural gas. Fracturing fluid is primarily water and approximately 0.5% chemical additives (friction reducer, agents countering rust, agents killing microorganism). 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.Kijk magazine, 2/2012{{Verify source|date=February 2012}} About 50% to 70% of the injected volume of contaminated water is recovered and stored in above-ground ponds to await removal by tanker. The remaining volume remains in the subsurface. Hydraulic fracturing opponents fear that it can lead to contamination of groundwater aquifers, though the industry deems this "highly unlikely". However, foul-smelling odors and heavy metals contaminating the local water supply above-ground have been reported.NEWS,weblink The New York Times, Eliza, Griswold, The Fracturing of Pennsylvania, 17 November 2011, Besides using water and industrial chemicals, it is also possible to frack shale gas with only liquified propane gas. This reduces the environmental degradation considerably. The method was invented by GasFrac, of Alberta, Canada.WEB, Brino, Anthony,weblink Shale gas fracking without water and chemicals,, 2013-08-06, Hydraulic fracturing was exempted from the Safe Drinking Water Act in the Energy Policy Act of 2005.Energy Policy Act of 2005. Pub. L. 109-58, TITLE III, Subtitle C, SEC. 322. Hydraulic fracturing. 6 February 2011A study published in May 2011 concluded that shale gas wells have seriously contaminated shallow groundwater supplies in northeastern Pennsylvania with flammable methane. However, the study does not discuss how pervasive such contamination might be in other areas drilled for shale gas.JOURNAL,weblink Science Now, Study: High-Tech Gas Drilling Is Fouling Drinking Water, Richard A. Kerr, 13 May 2011, 775, 332, 6031, 27 June 2011, 10.1126/science.332.6031.775, The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced 23 June 2011 that it will examine claims of water pollution related to hydraulic fracturing in Texas, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Colorado and Louisiana.WEB,weblink EPA: Natural Gas Drilling May Contaminate Drinking Water,, 2011-06-25, 2013-08-06, On 8 December 2011, the EPA issued a draft finding which stated that groundwater contamination in Pavillion, Wyoming may be the result of fracking in the area. The EPA stated that the finding was specific to the {{not a typo|Pavillion}} area, where the fracking techniques differ from those used in other parts of the U.S. Doug Hock, a spokesman for the company which owns the {{not a typo|Pavillion}} gas field, said that it is unclear whether the contamination came from the fracking process.NEWS,weblink EPA theorizes fracking-pollution link, Associated Press, 8 December 2011, 10 December 2011, Gruver, Mead, Wyoming's Governor Matt Mead called the EPA draft report "scientifically questionable" and stressed the need for additional testing.WEB,weblink Governor Mead: Implications of EPA Data Require Best Science, The Casper Star-Tribune also reported on 27 December 2011, that the EPA's sampling and testing procedures "didn’t follow their own protocol" according to Mike Purcell, the director of the Wyoming Water Development Commission.WEB,weblink EPA report: Pavillion water samples improperly tested, A 2011 study by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology concluded that "The environmental impacts of shale development are challenging but manageable." The study addressed groundwater contamination, noting "There has been concern that these fractures can also penetrate shallow freshwater zones and contaminate them with fracturing fluid, but there is no evidence that this is occurring". 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.JOURNAL,weblink MIT Energy Initiative, The Future of Natural Gas: An Interdisciplinary MIT Study, MIT Energy Initiative, 2011, 7,8, 29 July 2011, In a report dated 25 July 2012, the U.S. 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.WEB,weblink Terri White. U.S. EPA. "EPA Completes Drinking Water Sampling in Dimock, Pa.",, 2012-07-25, 2013-08-06, A Duke University study of Blacklick Creek (Pennsylvania), carried out over two years, took samples from the creek upstream and down stream of the discharge point of Josephine Brine Treatment Facility. Radium levels in the sediment at the discharge point are around 200 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." The study recommended "independent monitoring and regulation" in the United States due to perceived deficiencies in self-regulation.WEB
, Carus
, Felicity
, Dangerous levels of radioactivity found at fracking waste site in Pennsylvania
, 2 October 2013
, 9 October 2013
, Warner
, Nathaniel R.
, Christie
, Cidney A.
, Robert B.
, Jackson
, Avner
, Vengosh
, Impacts of Shale Gas Wastewater Disposal on Water Quality in Western Pennsylvania
, Environmental Science and Technology
, 47
, 20
, 11849–57
, 2 October 2013
, 10.1021/es402165b
, 24087919, 10161/8303
According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, the Clean Water Act applies to surface stream discharges from shale gas wells:
"6) Does the Clean Water Act apply to discharges from Marcellus Shale Drilling operations? Yes. Natural gas drilling can result in discharges to surface waters. The discharge of this water is subject to requirements under the Clean Water Act (CWA)."US Environmental Protection Agency, Natural Gas Drilling in the Marcellus Shale, NPDES Program Frequently Asked Questions, Attachment to memorandum from James Hanlon, Director of EPA’s Office of Wastewater Management to the EPA regions, 16 March 2011.


Hydraulic fracturing routinely produces microseismic events much too small to be detected except by sensitive instruments. These microseismic events are often used to map the horizontal and vertical extent of the fracturing.Les Bennett and others, "The Source for Hydraulic Fracture Characterization," Schlumberger, Oilfield Review, Winter 2005/2006, p.42–57 However, as of late 2012, there have been three known instances worldwide of hydraulic fracturing, through induced seismicity, triggering quakes large enough to be felt by people.US Geological Survey, How is hydraulic fracturing related to earthquakes and tremors?, accessed 20 April 2013.On 26 April 2012, the Asahi Shimbun reported that United States Geological Survey scientists have been investigating the recent increase in the number of magnitude 3 and greater earthquake in the midcontinent of the United States. Beginning in 2001, the average number of earthquakes occurring per year of magnitude 3 or greater increased significantly, culminating in a six-fold increase in 2011 over 20th century levels. A researcher in Center for Earthquake Research and Information of University of Memphis assumes water pushed back into the fault tends to cause earthquake by slippage of fault.NEWS, シェールガス採掘、地震誘発?米中部、M3以上6倍,weblink Asahi Shimbun, Tokyo, 2012-04-26, Page 1, 2012-04-26, Japanese, Magnitude 3 and greater earthquakes 6 fold in the midcontinent of the United States. Beginning in 200. extracted shale gas induce earthquakes ?, Is the Recent Increase in Felt Earthquakes in the Central U.S. Natural or Manmade? United States Geological Survey, 11 April 2012Over 109 small earthquakes (Mw 0.4–3.9) were detected during January 2011 to February 2012 in the Youngstown, Ohio area, where there were no known earthquakes in the past. These shocks were close to a deep fluid injection well. The 14 month seismicity included six felt earthquakes and culminated with a {{M|w|link=y}} 3.9 shock on 31 December 2011. Among the 109 shocks, 12 events greater than Mw 1.8 were detected by regional network and accurately relocated, whereas 97 small earthquakes (0.4

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