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Chemistry and Engineering of Shale Gas and Tight Oil Resource Development

Chemistry and Engineering of Shale Gas and Tight Oil Resource Development: A Workshop for the Chemical Sciences Roundtable: Workshop in Brief.

Board on Chemical Sciences and Technology; Division on Earth and Life Studies; National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.


Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2015.
The National Academies Collection: Reports funded by National Institutes of Health.

Key points:

  • The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) estimates that 25,000 to 30,000 new hydraulic fracturing wells were drilled each year between 2011 to 2014
  • Chemistry and chemical engineering are used extensively in the hydraulic fracturing process, their roles are not well understood.
  • The number of chemicals and complexity of the mixtures in which they are used, combined with the extreme and variable conditions under which they are handled, is a challenge for understanding their fate and transport as well as toxicity or environmental concerns posed by their use.
  • Hydraulic fracturing fluids are only part of the universe of chemicals used in the oil and gas production process; other fluids, such as drilling fluids, enhanced oil recovery fluids, and produced water might be equally important for their possible environmental and health impacts but do not have to be disclosed.
  • High concentrations of bromide and iodide present produced water has the potential to result in the creation of unexpected byproducts during drinking water disinfection procedures; naturally occurring radioactive material (NORM) might contaminate ground and surface water when leaks or incorrect disposal occurs.

This title is currently only available in Bookshelf in PDF format (4.0M). The full-text online version of this publication is forthcoming.


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