The National Academies

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What You Need To Know About Energy

Chemistry and Engineering of Shale Gas and Tight Oil Development: A Workshop in Brief (2015)

Oil and gas exploration in the United States has expanded with the increased use of horizontal, or directional, drilling to facilitate the recovery of shale gas and tight oil resources. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that 25,000 to 30,000 new hydraulic fracturing wells were drilled each year between 2011 and 2014, and the impact of those wells and the use of hydraulic fracturing has been a topic of public and policy discussion in recent years. Though chemistry and chemical engineering are used extensively in the hydraulic fracturing process, their roles are not well understood outside of the oil and gas industries. In a workshop held May 18-19, 2015 in Washington, DC by the Chemical Sciences Roundtable, practitioners and experts in these fields came together to discuss shale gas and tight oil resource development. This report summarizes the presentations and discussions from the workshop.

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