Our Shale Gas Research Group formed in 2013 to explore the widespread and important societal implications of the development of natural gas from unconventional sources.
Commonly referred to as “shale gas,” this unconventional gas development (UGD) is based on advanced technologies including horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing (or “fracking”). As development progresses, we are investigating how the existing and evolving regulatory framework governs the associated risks. We consider questions about regulating the risks to other natural resources, including underground and surface sources of drinking water, the possibility of creating earthquakes, along with air and land pollution.
Additionally, we investigate the relationship of public perceptions to development and how these reflect on perceptions of risk and energy usage. We are also investigating the contrasting aspects of local, state, and federal oversight in this rapidly changing energy resource development, using several states as case studies. Currently, we are investigating the roles of supporting industries and systems to natural gas development, and we are comparing UGD in the United States with that in China.
Our research is characterized by interdisciplinary perspectives in the natural and social sciences, and a corresponding methodological diversity with an international composition of participants. Our goal is to contribute toward the enhancement of regulatory oversight while preserving the benefits of shale gas development to society.