Following each plenary session, workshop participants divided into four working groups. All four working groups considered the same topics, although the groups often interpreted them differently or emphasized different points. The following points, edited slightly for grammar and clarification, were reported by the working group chairs or rapporteurs in the plenary sessions.
SESSION 1: GEOLOGY, RESOURCES, AND PRODUCTION
Working Group 1 Report
The group did not have a detailed discussion about the resource estimates presented in the plenary or about technology and engineering processes.
Communication and Education
• How do we get the message to the general public? What should the message be? How do we communicate under uncertainty? How do we galvanize action?
• Universities have a unique role in providing credible information on costs and risks of shale gas development, but they need to be transparent about funding sources.
• Local workforce development is important, not only in STEM (science [including geoscience], technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields, but also in integrating and multidisciplinary studies.
• Academics and government agencies need to understand hydraulic fracturing as well as industry does.
• A road map or common vision for developing shale gas (e.g., number of wells, expected revenue) is needed.
Below are the first 10 and last 10 pages of uncorrected machine-read text (when available) of this chapter, followed by the top 30 algorithmically extracted key phrases from the chapter as a whole.
Intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text on the opening pages of each chapter. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.
Do not use for reproduction, copying, pasting, or reading; exclusively for search engines.
OCR for page 51
Appendix D Working Group Reports F ollowing each plenary session, workshop participants divided into four working groups. All four working groups considered the same topics, although the groups often interpreted them differently or emphasized different points. The following points, edited slightly for grammar and clarification, were reported by the working group chairs or rapporteurs in the plenary sessions. SESSION 1: GEOLOGY, RESOURCES, AND PRODUCTION Working Group 1 Report The group did not have a detailed discussion about the resource estimates presented in the plenary or about technology and engineering processes. Communication and Education • How do we get the message to the general public? What should the message be? How do we communicate under uncertainty? How do we galvanize action? • Universities have a unique role in providing credible information on costs and risks of shale gas development, but they need to be transparent about funding sources. • Local workforce development is important, not only in STEM (science [including geosci- ence], technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields, but also in integrating and multidisci- plinary studies. • Academics and government agencies need to understand hydraulic fracturing as well as industry does. • A road map or common vision for developing shale gas (e.g., number of wells, expected revenue) is needed. 51
OCR for page 51
52 APPENDIX D Research and Development Needs • Leakage rates. • Sound science and statistically relevant baseline measurements, including additional chemi- cal constituents, over historically significant periods. • Deep monitoring wells to look at vertical migration of fluids. • Quantifying data in a statistically meaningful way to understand cause and effect. • Relationship between well completion strategies and estimated ultimate recovery. • Understanding induced seismicity and deploying denser seismic infrastructure, especially around high-rate injection wells. • Shale reservoir characterization. • Appraising everything in the proper scale context (e.g., number of wells), well performance, and the real recovery. Working Group 2 Report Geology and Hydrocarbon Resources • Research to understand differences in geologic setting and process controls (depositional environment, wet vs. dry, structural implications) between the northeast and southwest portions of the Marcellus and Utica plays. • How to calculate stimulated rock volume and relate it to gas in place, estimated ultimate recovery, and resources and reserves. • Geologic controls on the productive, operational, and economic lifetimes of unconventional wells (anecdotal reports of Marcellus well plugging). • Research on nanoporosity and nanopermeability. • Determining the geologic factors that cause induced seismicity in a particular well. Technical and Engineering Processes • Better production data (monthly and daily) to better estimate resources and reserves for a well, field, or region. • Better public understanding of hydraulic fracture treatment. • Ways to measure and model stimulated rock volume. • Engineering of casing and cement for unconventional wells. • Relation of reservoir pressure to induced seismicity. • Impact of unconventional operations on abandoned or improperly abandoned wells. Research Priorities (Meta Issues) • Ways to balance industry needs (immediate) with options for working with individual researchers, universities, or consortia. • Developing a common language for academia and industry. • Including public policy makers and educators in the discussion. • Availability of data, including data currently in the public domain and data that could be made public (e.g., monthly industry data).
OCR for page 51
APPENDIX D 53 Working Group 3 Report Induced Seismicity • How much water will be disposed over next 50 years, and where? Reuse/recycling rates are high in the Marcellus but not elsewhere. • What is known about the interval being injected (e.g., whether faults are present, how far an earthquake might be felt)? • What lessons have been learned from geothermal energy. Technology and Potential Impacts • Producing as much gas as possible using as little water and as few wells as possible. More can be learned on issues such as rock structure at smaller scales and how that affects productivity. • Abandoned wells, legacy issues for old and new wells, and well integrity. • Issues surrounding constituents in flowback and produced water, including the local impor- tance of naturally occurring radioactive species. • Using technology in flexible ways to protect sensitive ecological areas (e.g., judicious selec- tion of well pad and pipeline locations). Core Message: Lack of Data • Location of abandoned wells. • Baseline data and uniform measurements of methane and other constituents in water. • Ecological criteria. • Three-dimensional seismic and core data. • Extent to which fracturing in a formation will affect future activities. • Ways to obtain and share data beyond individual company contacts. Working Group 4 Report Geology • Resources are vast, although estimates change continuously. • The formations are spatially diverse, which makes them difficult to fully characterize. Shale is the least researched rock. Better subsurface characterization tools are needed. • Nonproprietary data collected by states in our region are not easily accessible. Resource Development • The industry is relatively new, but is developing fast through an iterative process. • The proprietary nature of the technology affects research and development in academia and government. • The lack of public data affects further development and erodes the public trust. Industry and regulators could decide which data should remain proprietary and what additional data could be made public. • Regional and cumulative impacts (economic, environmental, social) are difficult to assess by a single sector. • Regulations can affect the footprint.
OCR for page 51
54 APPENDIX D • Highly interdisciplinary expertise is needed to tackle some of the issues above. • Federal and state funding for research and development is insufficient. The public needs an honest broker to understand which reports are credible. • Induced seismicity is poorly understood. • Better public communication, outreach, and education are needed. SESSION 2: WATER AND REGULATIONS Working Group 1 Report Best Management Practices • Well completions to minimize surface water and shallow groundwater contamination. • Baseline monitoring and determination of what constitutes the baseline. • Standardization of parameters (e.g., water quality) and sampling protocols. • Standardization of criteria for measuring contamination. • Relieving land owners of liability from test results of domestic wells. Wellbore Integrity • Quantify the potential for migration of contaminants from the fracture zone into drinking water aquifers. • Identify methods for detecting leaks. • Develop better cements. • Carry out hydrostatic testing prior to well completion. • Use suitable standards for testing wellbore integrity. • Use well testing protocols (e.g., downhole tools). Regulatory Technology and Practice • Site and road construction and reclamation. • Erosion control methods, inspection, and enforcement. • Methods for managing pit and tank bottoms and sediment. • Process for updating state and multistate regulations and standards, which vary across state lines and may conflict with one another. • Longitudinal studies on long-term processes and impacts to water quality, and communica- tion of these results to the public. • Development of an Appalachian brine and natural gas geochemistry library. • Legal and regulatory rationale and enforcement metrics. • Development of groundwater standards irrespective of oil and gas development. • Development of better, more cost-effective water treatment technologies. Working Group 2 Report Effects on Surface Water Quality and Quantity • Collecting baseline data and making them accessible to researchers and the public across jurisdictional boundaries. • Engaging citizens in collecting monitoring data.
OCR for page 51
APPENDIX D 55 • Better understanding of naturally occurring radioactive material. • Subsurface fluid migration—what happens to fluids that do not come out of the well? • Long-term impacts of sedimentation and erosion. Technical and Engineering Processes • Best practices for casings, cements, and other aspects of well construction. • Integrity of legacy wells and influence of current activity on these wells. • Reducing the volume of water for hydraulic fracturing. • High-rate, in situ treatment techniques for flowback and produced water. • Recovering constituents from wastewater for other uses. • Continued evolution of green practices. Meta Issues • Data, data, data. • Two-way communication with the public. • Availability of injection wells, particular in Pennsylvania. • Multiple jurisdictions, which result in different regulations across the region and hinders data collection and sharing. Working Group 3 Report Facts • The uniqueness of Appalachian Basin brings challenges and opportunities: ○ brine composition; ○ total dissolved solids issues, including the scalability of existing regulatory norms for shale gas production; and ○ turbidity. • Rapid changes in water management practices call for adaptability of regulatory agencies. • Need for baseline testing is critical. • Regulations in the Appalachian region are applied differently. Research Priorities • Identify first-order parameters for baseline studies. • Identify vulnerable points and process gaps in water management to prioritize where regula- tions would be needed. • Determine what to do with produced water and cuttings. • Form neutral groups (e.g., independent research, university consortia) to assess the impacts of shale gas production. • Identify real and perceived risks and mitigation strategies. • Provide information to help the public differentiate between perceived and actual risk. • Develop advanced water treatment methods. • Develop high-end desalination processes to both improve water quality and recover valuable compounds.
OCR for page 51
56 APPENDIX D • Monitoring: ○ data collection to build a database to support high-impact research, ○ seismic monitoring, and ○ air quality modeling. • Develop better predictive tools for groundwater migration and fate. Working Group 4 Report Potential Effects on Surface Water and Groundwater Quality and Quantity • Resources and inspectors are insufficient to guarantee regulatory compliance. Retention and salaries are an issue. ○ Disagreement: How much regulation/taxing is too much? Is industry already ahead of regulation? • Chemicals or materials used during preproduction or production stages (not the hydraulic fracturing stage) have appeared in surface water or groundwater. Are they a concern for water quality? ○ Disclosure of all the materials used in the industry is needed. Some of this is happening. • How can solids, some of which contain radioactive materials, be disposed after produced water is treated? • Although aggregate water consumption is comparatively low, where the water is withdrawn (e.g., a small stream) influences its impact. Technical and Engineering Processes • Maintaining the integrity of new and aging wells. What can be done with abandoned wells to make sure groundwater is not being contaminated? ○ Develop sensors to monitor the infrastructure. ○ Can/should sensors or monitoring tools be used in “shallower” vertical wells to monitor what is happening in the deeper shale wells? • Could alternative water sources such as acid mine drainage be used? Research Priorities • Are there any worrisome materials used in small quantities for which not enough informa- tion is available? • Amount of water coming out during the life of the well and how it will be disposed in the long term. • Potential problems with radionuclides in wastewater and solid waste from shale production. • Variability of stray methane in well water and baselines to detect methane migration. SESSION 3: ECOSYSTEMS, AIR, AND CLIMATE Working Group 1 Report Monitoring for Ecosystems, Air, and Climate • Sampling strategies—where data are collected relative to the baseline location can bias results.
OCR for page 51
APPENDIX D 57 • Long-term monitoring and baseline data are needed, but it is difficult to find and maintain funding. Collaboration between industry and government and university researchers could bring new sources of funding, but might require more disclosure than companies want. • Is it possible to untangle long-term impacts from legacy wells from short-term impacts from unconventional hydrocarbon development? Is that necessary, given that a nonpristine system is being perturbed? • Are monitoring data covering the right areas, parameters, and timescales? Public Perception • Every small incident is interpreted in the context of the larger stressed environment (e.g., increased traffic, light, noise, odors from generators and compression stations). • Will more data collection really change public attitudes about development activities? • What are the potential impacts and risks? How much change will the public accept? Is cost- benefit analysis the best way to capture these issues? • There is a difference between public and scientific perceptions of risk. • Citizens make decisions and take positions based on potential ecological impacts. Scientists need to be clear about what is known about these impacts. • For important issues with very large uncertainties, it may be best to act conservatively until impacts are better understood. R&D and Educational Opportunities • Baseline data and monitoring: ○ Use extension and county conservation agents for monitoring, although they are often overwhelmed and underfunded. • Public understanding of ecological impacts: ○ To what extent should public perception guide research? ○ Extension agents may provide a communication channel. Working Group 2 Report Potential Effects on Landscapes, Including Soil, Organisms, and Systems • Sampling methodologies (when, where, how, etc.). Geologic sampling is a science. • Further study of water use, reuse, treatment, disposal, geochemistry, and their linkages. • Air issues, including direct toxins and particulate matter. • Greenhouse gas emissions in the context of the life cycle of the well. • Surface impacts, including erosion and sedimentation, surface spills, topographic alteration, road use, and habitat disruption. Off subject: Sociological impacts of light, noise, and traffic need to be better understood. Reducing impacts may require less research and more good management, and could improve public perceptions. Technical and Engineering Processes • Environmental impact statements as related to shale gas in numerous areas, basins, etc. (state vs. federal review).
OCR for page 51
58 APPENDIX D • How data on greenhouse gas emissions are used and put into context. Given that industry practices are constantly changing, how does research get ahead so it has an impact? • Keeping up with numerous and changing practices in wastewater treatment, disposal, trans- port, reuse, injection, and subsurface transport. • Surface and engineering geologic input on placing wells, pipelines, and facilities in loca- tions that minimize environmental impacts while optimizing hydrocarbon production. • Development and use of sensors to monitor fluids, air, biota, etc. on well sites and surround- ing areas. Research Priorities (Meta Issues) • Time lines and mechanisms for obtaining funding. • Time lines for carrying out a study and for making measurement long enough to be useful. • Metrics for determining the social benefits and actual impacts (i.e., water demands). • Data issues: ○ Better access to government-collected legacy and real-time data; ○ More succinct definition of the problem, which will help define what data are needed; ○ Ways to share industry data with academia and government. • Comparisons of impacts from legacy well drilling and completion and shale gas well drilling and completion. • Ways to keep studies and partnerships relevant when industry often changes its best practices. Working Group 3 Report Major Areas of Agreement • Importance of understanding thresholds for maintaining stable development without adversely affecting ecosystems. • Need for standardized data collection and methods. • Need to collect baseline data (air, water, etc.). • Challenge of addressing issues across jurisdictional boundaries. • Need to diversify funding in an era of declining federal funding. Major Areas of Disagreement • Industry consideration of habitat impact and other issues. There is significant distrust of what industry is doing. • Where to focus mitigation of fugitive emissions. The largest sources may not be drilling and production, but instead leaky pipes in cities or leaks in other parts of the system. Areas of New Research and Development • Relationship between drilling or production activity, seasonality, and impacts. • Standards (constituents, data gathering). • Thresholds and tipping points for core species. • Development of sensors that are cheap and easy to operate by citizens (e.g., backyard weather stations).
OCR for page 51
APPENDIX D 59 Working Group 4 Report Potential Effects on Landscapes • Ecosystem fragmentation and community and social impacts (e.g., gas production can dis- courage farming). • Stormwater management and the importance of documenting the acute effects of a large storm and the cumulative effects of erosion and sedimentation. • Effect of legal challenges on where and how development occurs. Technical and Engineering Processes • Ways to reduce the effect of noise (e.g., from compressor stations) and light pollution (e.g., from flaring, lights on infrastructure) on ecosystems and communities. • Responsible operation philosophy and best management practices: ○ Enforcement or regulation when behavior not in line with the regulations; ○ Stakeholder discussion of best management practice implementation to address the scale of shale gas disturbance; ○ Regulatory staffing issues (i.e., insufficient number of qualified people). Research Priorities • Establish a collaboration between industry and government: ○ Rapid implementation; ○ Long-term funding for applied research; ○ Low-cost monitoring solutions, large data management systems, and better use of indus- try gray literature. • Identify the externalities or unintended consequences of unconventional development in the near and long terms. • Provide public education about the true cost of energy. • Use university extension services to increase the research-education feedback.
OCR for page 51