Next Steps for Industry and The Public
The benefits of shale gas are measurable and significant. Shale production has enabled a more stable and secure supply of natural gas, providing protection against supply interruptions and price volatility. The vast number of shale wells that are located closer to demand load also enables natural gas supply to be more finely attuned to demand, thus further promoting price stability. And shale production has little impact on land use, but can lead to greatly improved air quality and improved energy efficiency, since little energy is wasted in the production, transportation and combustion of natural gas to make electricity. Finally, shale production has proven its ability to create tens of thousands of new jobs and to generate revenue for the states.
To date, concerns about the hydraulic fracturing process and its impact on water have proven largely unfounded, however it is clear that these concerns must be addressed to allay public concerns.
The American Petroleum Institute (API), an industry group with nearly 90 years of experience in promulgating industry standards and best practices, has undertaken a four-part plan to provide guidance on current industry best practices.
- A Guidance document on environmental and reclamation practices (August 2009)
- API HF1, Hydraulic Fracturing Operations – Well Construction and Integrity Guideline is designed to ensure that shallow ground aquifers and the environment are protected throughout the drilling, completion and production phases of a well’s life. (October 2009)
- API HF2, Water Management Associated With Hydraulic Fracturing, a resource for “cradle to grave” water handling practices for hydraulic fracturing operations. (June 2010)
- API HF3, Practices for Mitigating Surface Impacts Associated with Hydraulic Fracturinghighlights practices used to lessen hydraulic fracturing’s impact on surface ecosystems.(January 2011)
For more information on these reports and fracking in general, please visit the API website.
The evolution of hydraulic fracturing and the story of shale are a showcase for human resourcefulness. The next chapter in this unfolding story may have less to do with technology and science and more to do with a challenge to producers and regulators to credibly dispel public concerns.
LINKS AND RESOURCES