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Region: Economics and Sociology

2015 year, number 4

Environmental impact of shale oil and gas extraction

Institute of Economics and Industrial Engineering, Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Ac. Lavrentiev av., 17, Novosibirsk, 630090, Russia
Keywords: гидравлический разрыв, фрекинг, сланцевые углеводороды, охрана окружающей среды, водные ресурсы, качество воздуха, hydraulic fracturing, fracking, shale oil and gas, environmental protection, water resources, air quality


The article considers environmental problems arising from the hydrocarbon production by fracking. It is shown that almost everywhere shale gas and tight oil are being extracted without a preliminary research on the environmental health, which, in its turn, does not allow recognizing ecological deprivation associated with unconventional hydrocarbon resources deve-op-ment. We dramatically lack the scientific knowledge required to assess potential risks of pollution. The declared ecological advantage provided by shale gas flaring versus coal and oil production is groundless. The obtained findings point out the necessity to examine local conditions when assessing the environmental impact of fracking. The reason is that the effects vary by region. In a similar way, the technology and extraction practices applied at a certain deposit will not essentially be applicable at another one. The authors believe that the antipodal environmental impact assessments of shale oil and gas extraction not only reveal the need for serious scientific research in this area, but also expose the importance of studying the past experience in order to manage the newly emerging environmental risks.