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The AAPG/Datapages Combined Publications Database

Environmental Geosciences (DEG)



Shale gas: Opportunities and challenges

Paul Meakin,1 Hai Huang,2 Anders Malthe-Sorenssen,3 Kjetil Thogersen4

1Department of Physics, Barton Hall, Temple University, 1900 North 13th Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19122; [email protected]
2Idaho National Laboratory, 2525, Fremont Avenue, Idaho Falls, Idaho 83415; [email protected]
3Department of Physics, University of Oslo, Sem Selands vei 24, NO-0316, Oslo, Norway; [email protected]
4Department of Physics, University of Oslo, Sem Selands vei 24, NO-0316, Oslo, Norway; [email protected]


Paul Meakin has a Ph.D. in physical chemistry from University of California, Santa Barbara. He is a distinguished adjunct professor in the Temple University Physics Department, a member of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters, and a fellow of the American Physical Society. He has published extensively in the physics, chemistry, geoscience, and materials science literature, and his h-index is 74.

Hai Huang has a Ph.D. in hydrogeology from the University of Nevada, Reno, and he is a senior research and development scientist at Idaho National Laboratory. His research has included computational geomechanics and hydraulic fracturing, high-performance computing of coupled thermal-hydromechanical-chemical (THMC) processes; large-scale groundwater flow and contaminant transport; inverse modeling for parameter estimation; multiphase flow in fractures; reactive transport; and geostatistics.

Anders Malthe-Sorenssen has a Ph.D. in statistical physics, and he is a professor in physics of geological processes at the University of Oslo. His main research interest lies in the intersection between physics and geoscience, and he has worked on a wide range of problems including statistical physics, fluid-rock interactions, mechanochemical processes, fracture, friction, magmatic intrusions, and nanoconfined fluids.

Kjetil Thogersen has an M.Sc. degree in computational physics from the University of Oslo, where he is currently a Ph.D. student with VISTA (a basic research program funded by Statoil ASA and conducted in collaboration with the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters). His research is focused on modeling shale gas extraction processes, including flow in fractures, particle suspensions, and friction.


Kristin Carter provided extensive comments on the manuscript, which enabled us to make substantial improvements.


Shales are becoming the most important source of natural gas in North America, and replacement of coal by natural gas is reducing CO2 emissions and improving air quality. Nevertheless, shale gas is facing strong opposition from environmental nongovernmental organizations. Although these organizations have greatly exaggerated the potential negative environmental impacts of shale gas and shale oil, methane leakage and contamination of groundwater and surface water by flowback and produced waters are serious concerns. These contamination pathways are not unique to shale gas and shale oil, and they are manageable.

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