A group of advisors to Energy Secretary Steven Chu today released a series of consensus-based recommendations regarding shale gas. The advisors called for increased measurement, public disclosure and a commitment to continuous improvement in the development and environmental management of shale gas, which has rapidly grown to nearly 30 percent of natural gas production in the United States.
The report claims increased transparency and a focus on best practices “benefits all parties in shale gas production: regulators will have more complete and accurate information, industry will achieve more efficient operations and the public will see continuous, measurable, improvement in shale gas activities.”
“The current output of shale gas and its potential for future growth emphasize the need to assure that this supply is produced in an environmentally sound fashion, and in a way that meets the needs of public trust,” says subcommittee Chairman John Deutch.
Deutch believes that better data will help the industry focus its investments, give the public the information it needs to effectively engage, and help regulators identify and address the most important problems.
The report includes recommendations in four key areas:
1. Making information about shale gas production operations more accessible to the public
2. Immediate and longer-term actions to reduce environmental and safety risks of shale gas operations, with a particular focus on protecting air and water quality
3. Creation of a Shale Gas Industry Operation organization committed to continuous improvement of best operating practices
4. Research and development (R&D) to improve safety and environmental performance