• 4 minutes Will We Ever See 100$+ OIL?
  • 8 minutes Iran downs US drone. No military response . . Just Destroy their economy. Can Senator Kerry be tried for aiding enemy ?
  • 11 minutes Energy Outlook for Renewables. Pie in the sky or real?
  • 4 hours Shale Oil will it self destruct?
  • 4 hours NYT: Mass Immigration Roundups in U.S. to Start Sunday
  • 4 hours White House insider who predicted Iran False Flag, David Goldberg found dead in his New York apartment
  • 3 hours South Korea imports No Oil From Iran in June - First-Half Imports Fall 37%
  • 11 hours U.S. Administration Moves To End Asylum Protections For Central Americans
  • 10 hours U.S.- Taiwan: China Says Will Freeze Out U.S. Companies That Sell Arms To Taiwan
  • 2 hours Germany exits coal: A model for Asia?
  • 12 hours Starlink Internet Courtesy of Tesla
  • 1 day Rising air pollution and green house effect
  • 1 day Oil Price Could Fall To $30 If Global Deal Not Extended
  • 13 hours Trump vs. Xi Trade Battle, Running Commentary from Conservative Tree House
  • 3 hours A Silence is heard
  • 1 day U.S. Economic Expansion: Rich Get Richer
James Hamilton

James Hamilton

James is the Editor of Econbrowser – a popular economics blog that Analyses current economic conditions and policy.

More Info

Premium Content

A Look at the Environmental Concerns Surrounding Shale Gas

Technological breakthroughs in methods for drilling for natural gas have opened up the possibility of vast new supplies. However, environmental concerns may turn out to be significant.

Stuart Staniford has taken a look at a study of the effects of shale-gas extraction on drinking water recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The scatter diagram below summarizes 60 drinking water wells in Pennsylvania, with distance from a natural gas well on the horizontal axis and methane concentration in the water on the vertical axis. All of the water wells with concentrations above 28 milligrams of methane per liter of water were within one kilometer of active drilling.

Methane concentration near gas wells

Methane concentrations as a function of distance to the nearest gas well for active (closed circles, defined as within 1 km) and nonactive (open triangles, defined as grater than 1 km away) drilling areas. Source: Osborn, et. al. (2011).

Stuart also tracked down the relevance of a 28 mg/l concentration:

A dissolved methane concentration greater than 28 mg/L indicates that potentially explosive or flammable quantities of the gas are being liberated in the well and/or may be liberated in confined areas of the home.

There are potential huge investments to be contemplated to try to take advantage of the new natural gas resources, for purposes such as electrical generation by utilities, gas-powered cars and trucks, and refueling stations. But uncertainties about potential future regulation and litigation must make anyone cautious. I think it's in the interests of everyone involved to identify right away where the contamination documented above is coming from and develop regulations to minimize it.

By. James Hamilton

Reproduced from Econbrowser




Download The Free Oilprice App Today

Back to homepage


Leave a comment
  • Anonymous on May 18 2011 said:
    What worries me is, leakage of natural gas (which is largely methane) into the atmosphere caused by "fracking", may contribute to the greenhouse effect.

Leave a comment




Oilprice - The No. 1 Source for Oil & Energy News
Download on the App Store Get it on Google Play