Cornucopia or curse? Reviewing the costs and benefits of shale gas hydraulic fracturing (fracking)

Cornucopia or curse? Reviewing the costs and benefits of shale gas hydraulic fracturing (fracking) 1 Introduction</h5> To understand the contestable nature of hydrofracking, consider two anecdotes from Pennsylvania. In 2012, the state issued permits for 2484 “unconventional” natural gas wells, with 1365 of them drilled, and Pennsylvanians earned some $1.2 billion in royalties that year [24] . The locals of Smithfield, Pennsylvania supported fracking to the degree that they named their local food delicacy the “frack burger”. This fervor for fracking, nonetheless, differed greatly from that of a community near Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, where shale gas production has transformed once-clear streams into muddy-swamps full of dead fish and flammable water. One resident complained that shale gas production was a scourge on his family׳s health that just “refuses to go away” [28] .</P>Which picture of shale gas development—cornucopia or curse—is the true one? This study finds that they both are. It presents the results of a qualitative review of articles discussing shale gas and hydraulic fracturing, drawn mostly from the peer-reviewed energy studies literature, published in the past 10 years. On the one hand, this review finds that shale gas production, done properly, can bring with it wide-ranging benefits including the enhancement of energy security, lower natural gas prices, a cleaner environmental footprint than http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews Elsevier

Cornucopia or curse? Reviewing the costs and benefits of shale gas hydraulic fracturing (fracking)

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Publisher
Elsevier
Copyright
Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd
ISSN
1364-0321
D.O.I.
10.1016/j.rser.2014.04.068
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

1 Introduction</h5> To understand the contestable nature of hydrofracking, consider two anecdotes from Pennsylvania. In 2012, the state issued permits for 2484 “unconventional” natural gas wells, with 1365 of them drilled, and Pennsylvanians earned some $1.2 billion in royalties that year [24] . The locals of Smithfield, Pennsylvania supported fracking to the degree that they named their local food delicacy the “frack burger”. This fervor for fracking, nonetheless, differed greatly from that of a community near Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, where shale gas production has transformed once-clear streams into muddy-swamps full of dead fish and flammable water. One resident complained that shale gas production was a scourge on his family׳s health that just “refuses to go away” [28] .</P>Which picture of shale gas development—cornucopia or curse—is the true one? This study finds that they both are. It presents the results of a qualitative review of articles discussing shale gas and hydraulic fracturing, drawn mostly from the peer-reviewed energy studies literature, published in the past 10 years. On the one hand, this review finds that shale gas production, done properly, can bring with it wide-ranging benefits including the enhancement of energy security, lower natural gas prices, a cleaner environmental footprint than

Journal

Renewable and Sustainable Energy ReviewsElsevier

Published: Sep 1, 2014

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