7 February 2012
Venue: Lecture Theatre OGGB4, Level 0, Owen G Glenn Building, 5 Grafton Road, The University of Auckland
Host: Faculty of Science
Public lecture by Professor Avner Vengosh, The Nicholas School of Environment, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, USA
Advances in drilling technologies and production strategies such as horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing have significantly improved the production of natural gas by stimulating fluid flow (liquid and gas) to and from wells.
Since 2008, these technological developments have spurred exponential growth of gas well drilling across the United States, particularly in basins with abundant natural gas resources within the Barnett, Haynesville, Fayetteville, Woodford, Utica, and Marcellus shale formations.
While the new drilling and fracturing technologies and associated gas exploitation could dramatically change the energy landscape in the U.S., recent scientific findings in Duke University of potential methane contamination in drinking water shallow wells associated with gas wells in northeastern Pennsylvania raise important questions for the environmental effects of gas-drilling activities.
Other key environmental issues related to gas drilling include decreasing water availability owing to the large volume of water required for the hydraulic fracturing and the safety of the disposal of produced water, which is often highly toxic and radioactive. The accelerated rate of shale gas drilling and production has triggered public debate on hydraulic fracturing and has also shifted the social and economical balances of many of communities.
The lack of consistent communication among industry, regulatory agencies, environmentalists, and the scientific community has created mistrust between the parties involved.
All are welcome to this public lecture.