Examining the Market Structure of Shale Gas Drilling in the United States

Over the last decade, the shale gas boom has emerged as the biggest story in US energy. Gas extracted from shale formations accounted for only 1.6 percent of total US natural gas production in 2000, a share that ballooned to more than 40 percent by 2013. Its transformative influence on the American energy industry has […]

The Federal Multiagency Collaboration on Unconventional Oil and Gas Research Strategy: What Have We Learned?

The Department of Energy, the Department of the Interior, and the Environmental Protection Agency recently released the long-awaited research strategy on unconventional oil and gas research. Its mandate was to produce timely, policy-relevant research questions that support sound policy decisions and prudent oil and gas development. It also was to “analyze and synthesize the state of […]

Stimulating Shale Gas Development in China: What Lessons to Learn from the US Experience?

China’s pressing need to reduce coal consumption has created a strong demand for the natural gas trapped in its large shale reserves. The Chinese government has already experimented with a number of policies aimed at promoting shale gas development, but building an industry that can successfully utilize these reserves will be difficult. Although the Ministry […]

Managing the Risks of Shale Gas Development Using Innovative Legal and Regulatory Approaches

At the heart of the US shale gas boom is a tense relationship between the desire for its economic benefits and the fear of its environmental costs. Regulatory measures and industry best practices can be adjusted to ease this tension, but the potential for incorporating innovative tools into new measures has been relatively understudied. Both […]

Twitter Q&A Roundup: Exploring the Local Impacts of Shale Gas Development

On April 10, RFF hosted a seminar on the benefits and costs of shale gas development as experienced by local communities, titled “Exploring the Local Impacts of Shale Gas Development.” As moderator of that event, I’ll attempt to tackle some of the questions posed by our Twitter audience during the event that we were unable […]

Identifying “Known Unknowns” in the Natural Gas Revolution

Last week, my colleagues and I released a new RFF report, The Natural Gas Revolution: Critical Questions for a Sustainable Energy Future. At one point, I began referring to this document as the “Known Unknowns” report, in reference to a widely quoted Donald Rumsfeld speech. As the former secretary of defense noted, there are certain […]

McKibben, Liquid Natural Gas, and the Economy

Bill McKibben makes an impassioned argument in Politico about the dangers to the economy and the environment of building a facility for liquid natural gas (LNG) exports at Cove Point, MD. His case, however, rests heavily on the inaccurate assumption that the benefits of the exports will be limited only to the natural gas industry […]

Unconventional Fuel Production and Water Resources

Crude oil and natural gas production from unconventional reservoirs is experiencing accelerated growth in North America, much of which is expected to continue for the foreseeable future. This shift in the energy industry has been accompanied by rising concerns over its potential impact on water resources. Developing these fuels is thought to require more water […]

Shale Gas Development Linked to Traffic Accidents in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania has seen the development of more than 5,000 7,000 hydraulically fracked shale gas wells since 2004. The fracking process itself requires water and other liquids to work, not to mention rigs, other equipment, and labor, to fully develop the well. The water used in hydraulic fracturing is primarily brought to and from a well via […]

Good News for Gas from New Fugitive Methane Numbers

Is the shale gas boom good or bad for climate? It largely depends on methane. Methane, the primary constituent of natural gas, is a double-edged sword in climate terms. It burns much cleaner than coal—about half of the CO2 emissions and far less of most other pollutants for the same energy output. But released directly […]