WVU Hosts National Research Council on Shale-Gas Drilling - WBOY.com: Clarksburg, Morgantown: News, Sports, Weather

WVU Hosts National Research Council on Shale-Gas Drilling

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West Virginia University is hosting a two-day National Research Council workshop. It focuses on regulation, technical, and environmental issues in shale-gas drilling. Industry, academic, and government agencies from across the United States came to WVU to discuss the uncertainties that come along with shale-gas drilling.

One major topic of concern is seismic activity from injecting large amounts of waste water. There's been about six instances where this is believed to have caused small earthquakes, but there is still little data on the topic.

Associate Professor Brian Anderson said the more the public knows, the more they're going to trust the industry. Finding this data out is the main point of the research forum.

"The more gas you can get out of any individual well, well site, well pad, using less water means less environmental impact and more gas that will be produced," said Brian Anderson, associate professor of Chemical Engineering at WVU. "So that's really a win- win both for the industry and the environment. So we're trying to identify those little technological advances that would help both sides of the issue."

The National Research Council is not only focusing on geology and seismic activity. The two other areas focus on water resources and regulations, and landscapes and ecology in general.

"The real issues are how university's in particular, but also industry and non-governmental organizations, can develop better information so that the public and the policy makers understand the issues and can make wise choices," said George Hornberger, the Research Council Chair and Professor at Vanderbilt Institute for Energy and Environment.

The two-day event allows different groups to discuss areas of research where more information needs to be provided.

"Water management is a big issue within the industry currently. Being able to recycle the water, so that less water is disposed of," Anderson said. "And that's one of the big technologies that has really happened over the last couple of years."

Anderson also said the National Research Council not only provides a great environment for the discussions but a great opportunity for WVU.