Oil and Gas Fracking and Tight Shale Resources

  • Roger James Kuhns
  • George H. Shaw


The recovery of tight shale oil and natural gas using the technology of fracking is an example of both the application of innovative methods to energy recovery and opening the door to a series of unintended consequences. North America hosts numerous shale basins, a geologic environment that hosts low- to moderate-grade resources. Fracking opens the tight rock allowing extraction of oil and natural gas. But this method consumes large amounts of water and chemical additives, and when combined with often-impure formational waters yields an environmental, human health and drinking water risk to those in the production area. Tight shale resources have a considerably shorter production life than conventional petroleum resources, such as those controlled by OPEC. Tight shale resources see a drop in production rates of 90% within 2 years, whereas conventional wells last decades. Additionally, studies have shown re-injecting spent fluids into the deep formations triggers earthquakes, and some of those fluids may contaminate drinking water aquifers. For these reasons, natural gas is seen as more of a bridging fuel to a clean energy economy.


Fracking Oil Natural gas Tight shale/shale Conventional Carbon dioxide Greenhouse gas Methane Porosity Permeability Petroleum Additives Production Reserves Depletion Reservoir Peak 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Roger James Kuhns
    • 1
  • George H. Shaw
    • 2
  1. 1.SustainAudit, LLCMysticUSA
  2. 2.Geology DepartmentUnion CollegeSchenectadyUSA

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