Shale gas research programs kick off (and continue)



2015 has seen the launch of several research projects on shale gas worldwide. Among them are large projects like the establishment of two subsurface research centres in the UK ("Energy Security and Innovation Observing System for the Subsurface" ESIOS) and a project to monitor the process and progress of unconventional gas production at a Marcellus Shale well near Morgantown, WV ("Marcellus Shale Energy and Environmental Laboratory" MSEEL). Furthermore, EU-funded projects within the Horizon2020 framework kick off. Other research projects on shale gas keep on running. Find out below about new and ongoing projects. 


European Educational Research Association (EERA) JP Shale Gas (Weblink)

The EERA Joint Program on Shale Gas will establish a common knowledge platform for research on the potential, impact and safety of shale gas development in Europe. Existing technologies and methodologies will be evaluated and improved to establish an independent knowledge basis which is based on sound research by 24 independent research institutes from 15 European member states.

M4ShaleGas: Measuring, monitoring, mitigating managing the environmental impact of shale gas (Weblink)

The M4ShaleGas program focuses on reviewing and improving existing best practices and innovative technologies for measuring, monitoring, mitigating and managing the environmental impact of shale gas exploration and exploitation in Europe.

SHale gas Exploration and Exploitation induced Risks (SHEER)

SHEER will set up a probabilistic methodology to assess and mitigate the short and the long term environmental risks connected to the exploration and exploitation of shale gas. SHEER will utilize monitoring data available in literature integrated by monitoring data acquired during the project in one European shale gas exploitation site.


The primary objective is to assess the environmental footprint of shale gas exploitation in Europe in terms of water usage and contamination, induced seismicity, and fugitive emissions.


The main ambitions of FracRisk are to form a knowledge base and formulate scientific recommendations which will contribute to efforts aimed at minimising the environmental footprint of shale gas extraction, while addressing public concerns.


Blue Gas– Polish Shale Gas

Supporting development of technologies for shale gas extraction - The programme is a joint undertaking of National Centre for Research and Development (NCBR) and Industrial Development Agency (ARP S.A.).  It is focused on supporting integrated large R&D projects, testing results in pilot scale and commercialization of innovative technologies in the area of shale gas extraction.


Energy Security and Innovation Observing System for the Subsurface (ESIOS) (Weblink)

"At its heart, ESIOS will be a group of science research facilities where new subsurface activities such as fracking for shale gas can be tested and monitored under controlled conditions." Coordinated by the British Geological  Survey (BGS). 

Shale gas environmental monitoring (Weblink)

British Geological  Survey (BGS) is monitoring environmental baseline conditions in relation to potential shale gas development in the UK. Monitoring addresses quality of groundwater and surface water, seismicity, atmospheric composition assessment, ground motion (subsidence and uplift).

ReFINE - Researching Fracking IN Europe (Weblink)

ReFINE is the leading independent research consortium on fracking, led jointly by Newcastle University and Durham University. Launched in 2013, ReFINE was formed after trans-European discussions between scientists, policy-makers and the petroleum industry identified the need for unbiased research into shale gas exploitation.


Nicht-konventionelle Kohlenwasserstoffe (NiKo) (Weblink)

An evaluation of the shale gas potential in Germany, conducted by the German Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR).


Marcellus Shale Energy and Environmental Laboratory (MSEEL) (Weblink)

The Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) and its partners, West Virginia University (WVU), Northeast Natural Energy (NNE), and The Ohio State University conduct this project to monitor the process and progress of unconventional gas production at a Marcellus Shale well near Morgantown, WV. MSEEL will enable continuous monitoring of produced water and air quality. The project also gives researchers access to a dedicated science well for subsurface geophysical observation while NNE deploys a range of next-generation well-completion technologies designed to increase operational efficiency and reduce environmental impact.

Study of Hydraulic Fracturing for Oil and Gas and Its Potential Impact on Drinking Water Resources (Weblink)

The overall purpose of this study is to elucidate the relationship, if any, between hydraulic fracturing and drinking water resources. Conducted by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

AirWaterGas (Weblink

The mission of this Sustainability Research Network is to provide a logical, science- based framework for evaluating the environmental, economic, and social trade-offs between development of natural gas resources and protection of water and air resources and to convey the results of these evaluations to the public in a way that improves the development of policies and regulations governing natural gas and oil development. A Sustainability Research Network (SRN) funded by the National Science Foundation. 

Produced Waters (Weblink)

Researchers in the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Energy Resources Program (ERP) and colleagues are actively engaged in examining several aspects related to characterization, use, and impact of produced waters. 

Hydraulic Fracturing (Weblink)

Research on hydraulic fracturing is underway by a number of USGS offices including the Energy Resources Program, Water Resources, Natural Hazards and Environmental Health. This includes a major study conducted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

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Shale gas research programs kick off (and continue)