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The shale gas revolution: Barriers, sustainability, and emerging opportunities

Middleton, Richard S., Gupta, Rajan, Hyman, Jeffrey D., Viswanathan, Hari S.
Applied energy 2017 v.199 pp. 88-95
carbon dioxide, carbon sequestration, energy, environmental impact, greenhouse gas emissions, prices, shale, wells, United States
Shale gas and hydraulic refracturing has revolutionized the US energy sector in terms of prices, consumption, and CO2 emissions. However, key questions remain including environmental concerns and extraction efficiencies that are leveling off. For the first time, we identify key discoveries, lessons learned, and recommendations from this shale gas revolution through extensive data mining and analysis of 23years of production from 20,000 wells. Discoveries include identification of a learning-by-doing process where disruptive technology innovation led to a doubling in shale gas extraction, how refracturing with emerging technologies can transform existing wells, and how overall shale gas production is actually dominated by long-term tail production rather than the high-profile initial exponentially-declining production in the first 12months. We hypothesize that tail production can be manipulated, through better fracturing techniques and alternative working fluids such as CO2, to increase shale gas recovery and minimize environmental impacts such as through carbon sequestration.