Expert Articles

The SHIP collection of expert articles is continuously developed and updated.

Latest article:

Controversial studies on the impact of shale gas on climate

Author: Thorsten Warneke

Published:  October 23, 2014

Two recent articles (Howarth, R.W. (2014) and Heath et al (2014)) come to different conclusions regarding the impact of shale gas on climate. Natural gas is generally considered to be climate-friendlier than coal and oil. The reason is that natural gas emits less carbon dioxide than coal or oil. However, methane is a very potent greenhouse gas, and is the main constituent of natural gas; methane leakage... [read more]

Induced seismicity once again primarily focused on disposal wells

Author: Horst Rüter

Published:  October 13, 2014

The article "The 2001–Present Induced Earthquake Sequence in the Raton Basin of Northern New Mexico and Southern Colorado" (Weblinkpublished in October 2014 is not directly related to shale gas production but, instead, deals with seismicity created in connection with the disposal of reservoir water co-produced during coalbed methane production. However, it is of some interest here, because the origin of the disposed water... [read more]

Surface and groundwater contamination associated with modern natural gas development

Author: Physicians Scientists & Engineers for Healthy Energy
PSE* published the original article in March 2014. Republished on SHIP with permission.

Published: July 10, 2014

Documentation of water contamination associated with modern natural gas development is a complex issue. The list of studies reported here [PSE science summary] should be seen as conservative and limited reporting of water contamination, as it only contains ...[read more]

Induced seismicity linked to wastewater injection is said to make up around 20% of total seismicity within the USA.

Author: Horst Rüter

Published:  August 1, 2014

In an article that attracted a lot of press attention Keranen et al.(2014) take a closer look at the strong increase in seismicity in Oklahoma and therefore also in the central and eastern USA, something that has been talked about in publications for some time. The title alone [Sharp increase in central Oklahoma seismicity since 2008 induced by massive wastewater injection] draws a connection between this increase with wastewater injection. The article describes... [read more]

Comment on ‘Hydraulic fracture height limits and fault interactions in tight oil and gas formations’

Author: Bernd Wiese

Published: July 30, 2014

Flewelling et al., 2013, propose a worst-case scenario approach to determine the maximum possible hydraulic fracture height in tight oil and gas formations. The analysis...[read more]

Can larger earthquakes be related to disposal wells?

Author: Horst Rüter

Published:  June 19, 2014

This article by Sumy et al (2014) is particularly notable because it reports on the largest event to date related to gas extracted from the bedrock with a magnitude of M5.7. The team of authors looks at the M5.7 event in the context of a thousand other events registered during the injection phase (1993 - 2011). Of these, 110 were large enough to be evaluated in terms... [read more]

Do induced earthquakes occur during hydraulic fracturing after all?

Author: Horst Rüter

Published:  June 19, 2014

This article by Austin A. Holland (2013) is noteworthy for several reasons. It is also important for the discussion on induced seismicity in the context of the production of gas from shale gas reservoirs using... [read more]

Providing local communities with active participation in legal procedures and with knowledge concerning such procedures as a tool for sustainable development of shale gas investments in Poland.

Author: Michal Tarka

Published:  June 2, 2014

The implemented “Together about shale gas” ["A consensus on shale gas"] information campaign brought a number of opinions from the areas covered by this programme, concerning the social perception and social acceptance as well as... [read more]

Measurements taken using aircraft point to high emissions during the drilling phase in the Marcellus shale formation

Author: Thorsten Warneke

Published:  May 23, 2014

The article “Towards a better understanding and quantification of methane emissions from shale gas development”, by Caulton et al., published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in April, 2014, presents methane emission estimates deduced from measurements taken using aircraft. These measurements were conducted... [read more]

Chemicals in ‘fracking’ for the extraction of unconventional natural gas resources

Authors: Martin Elsner1, Carsten Vogt2, Anett Georgi2, Frank-Dieter Kopinke2, Wolfgang Calmano3, Kathrin Schreglmann1, Axel Bergmann4, Bernhard Mayer5, Franziska D.H.Wilke6.

Published: April 28, 2014

The "Chemicals in Hydrofracking for Natural Gas Extraction" technical committee is a group of experts of the German Water Chemistry Society (specialist group of GDCh, Gesellschaft Deutscher Chemiker e.V.). It is our aim to form an independent committee of experts that deals with current research questions regarding the environmental...[read more]

Official greenhouse gas inventories underestimate methane emissions.

Author: Thorsten Warneke

Publication date:  April 15, 2014

The article "Methane Leaks from North American Natural Gas Systems", published by Brandt et al. in the Policy Forum of the journal Science, compiles results on methane emissions from technical literature published over the last 20 years. This study represents an important... [read more]

How to apply European Commission Recommendations in real life: Stara Kiszewa case study

Author: Michal Tarka

Published:  March 21, 2014

As an expert for the “Together about shales” ["A consensus on shale gas"] programme financed by the National Fund for Environmental Protection (NFEP), I have analyzed one of the first cases of a shale gas licence to which... [read more]

A critical look at US Shale Gas Projections

Author: Philipp M. Richter

German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin)

Published:  February 21, 2014

In the last decade, the USA has seen an unexpected increase in natural gas production. Since 2005, annual production has increased by a third, reaching an all-time record in 2012. This rise in domestic production has been led... [read more]

The Importance of Shale Gas Exploration in Europe

Authors: M. Mitschanek, M. Prohaska, G. Thonhauser
Co Authors: E. Müller-Huber, J. Schön

Published:  February 20, 2014

The development of shale gas in the United States has shown that only with the consideration of a number of factors can the production rates of gas and/or liquids from unconventional reservoirs become economical. For this reason... [read more]

Methane emissions are underestimated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Author: Thorsten Warneke

Published:  January 27, 2014

A recent paper by Miller et al. (2013), published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, states that the emission of methane in the United States could be 50% higher than previously estimated. The results are based on a top-down method (see below), using an extensive set... [read more]

The legal consequences of European Commission recommendations on minimum principles for shale gas in Poland.

Author: Michal Tarka

Published: February 18, 2014

On 22 January, 2014 the European Commission published a Recommendation specifying minimum principles for the exploration and production of hydrocarbons using high volume hydraulic fracturing... [read more]

Assessment report on the impact of hydraulic fracturing on near-surface groundwater – Generic characterization and modeling

Authors: Torsten Lange, Alexander Kissinger, Martin Sauter, Rainer Helmig, Michael Heitfeld.

Published: January 07, 2014

The study presented here is part of the ExxonMobil information and dialog process on the technology of hydraulic fracturing (Ewen et al., 2012). It is the first larger German study on the quantification of possible risks of groundwater contamination caused by substances transported into the groundwater area by frack fluids...[read more]


Author: Michael Kühn

Published: December 18, 2013

Groundwater is an important part of the water cycle that is controlled and affected by numerous processes. The underground groundwater circulation systems are of a complexity that is difficult to understand due to the fact that they cannot be accessed directly. This is why .... [read more]

A short summary of “Constraints on Upward Migration of Hydraulic Fracturing Fluid and Brine"

Author: Bernd Wiese

Published: December 12, 2013

This paper by Flewelling & Sharma (2013) analyzes some general geological settings and their implications for fluid migration. The analysis is based on plausibility considerations. A central consideration is that high vertical permeabilities are .... [read more]

More articles:

Lower methane emissions than expected at selected shale gas production sites in the U.S.

Author: Thorsten Warneke

Published:  October 15, 2013

Natural gas used for heat and power generation is generally regarded as climate friendlier than oil or coal. This is definitely true when only carbon dioxide emissions during the burning process are considered; but... [read more]

New developments in the debate about shale gas extraction using hydraulic fracturing - European Parliament demands mandatory Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)

Author: Anna Alexandra Seuser

Published: October 16, 2013

On Wednesday, October 9, 2013, the European Parliament examined the question of revising the Environmental Impact Assessment Directive (EIA) and formulated a request for a mandatory... [read more]

New Draft Rules for Hydrocarbon Exploration and Production in Poland

Author: Ewa Rutkowska-Subocz

Published: May 14, 2013

On 15 February 2013 the Polish government published a Bill to amend the Act on Mining and Geological Law and other laws governing the process of mineral exploration and production (the “Bill”). The Bill introduces special solutions with respect to hydrocarbon exploration and production and hence is of particular importance for the shale gas industry. ... [read more]

For further reading about shale gas exploration and production in Poland click here

The Importance of Wellbore Integrity for Groundwater Protection in Shale Gas Well Construction

Authors: Michael Prohaska and Gerhard Thonhauser

Published: June 22, 2012
Updated:  July 18, 2015

One of the major public concerns in shale gas development is the protection of groundwater from fluids that are flowing in a cemented steel casing from the shale gas reservoir to the surface. In the United States, more than 40,000 shale gas wells have been completed in the last two decades. Following an intensive period of learning, the US shale gas industry slowly  .... [read more]

Germany: Legal aspects of shale gas exploration and extraction

Author: Grit Ludwig

Published:  March 14, 2012

Hydraulic fracturing (fracking) involves injecting water, sand, and a mixture of chemicals at high pressure into a rock formation deep below the surface. This opens new and pre-existing fractures in the rock allowing natural gas to migrate from the rock to the well and rise to the surface. The technology makes it possible to exploit gas... [read more]

Related reading:

Relationship between state law set by the German federal government and potentially deviant legal positions of the federal states

Outlining the legal structures of the approval procedure concerning hydraulic fracturing (fracing) in the German State, several distinctions as well as positions of points have to be fulfilled. Concerning this matter, there has to be distinguished precisely between the requirements set under mining law on the one hand and under the law... [read more]

Author:  Anna Alexandra Seuser

Published:  May 22, 2012

France: Evolutions in the legal framework for shale oil and gas

Author: Boris Martor

Published: March 14, 2012
Updated: July 16, 2015

In March 2010, the French Government (hereafter referred to as the “Government”) delivered the first research permits to explore shale oil and gas in France1. Afterwards French opponents of shale oil and gas operations focused... [read more]

Overview of Environmental Issues and US Regulatory Framework Pertaining to US Shale Gas Development

Author: Susan L. Sakmar

Published: May 1, 2012
Updated: September 17, 2012

The development of shale gas in the United States has been widely recognized as one of the most promising trends in U.S. both in terms of job creation and economic benefits as well as its resulting increase in the domestic supplies of natural gas. Many people view natural gas as a cleaner-burning fossil fuel that could enhance energy independence... [read more]

A documentation of studies on the greenhouse gas balance of shale gas

Author: Andreas Hübner

Published: March 14, 2012
Updated: April 29, 2015

Many studies have examined the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and thus the possible climate impact of shale gas production. Methodologies and assumptions in these studies differ, resulting in a wide variation in conclusions... [read more]


Water management options associated with the production of shale gas by hydraulic fracturing

Authors: Kelvin B. Gregory, Radisav D. Vidic, and David A. Dzombak

Published:  March 14, 2012

The grand challenge that natural gas producers must address is how to preserve the favorable economics of shale gas production while maintaining responsible stewardship of natural resources and protecting public health. The goals of the natural gas developers and the goals of those responsible for human and environmental health protection... [read more]

Poland: Legal aspects of shale gas exploration and production

Author: Ewa Rutkowska-Subocz

Published:  March 14, 2012

Poland is believed to have major shale gas deposits. The shale gas deposits are believed to be located in a zone stretching from the north-west to the south-east of Poland. About 100 prospecting/exploration concessions have been already granted by the Polish Ministry of Environment. Consequently, most of the area of potential interest is... [read more]

Except where otherwise noted, the content of this website is licensed under a Creative Commons 3.0 Attribution License

Expert Articles

Expert Articles