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Indiana University East when Oil and Water Mix Article Discussion

Indiana University East

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Can you help me understand this Geology question?

As you read the article, answer the following questions. You could find both the article and the questions in the attachments.

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Prelude: The Exercise: The focus of this assignment is on the environmental / human-health impacts of unconventional oil and gas (UOG) development. You are to read the GSA Today article entitled “When oil and water mix: Understanding the environmental impacts of shale development”, by Soeder and Kent (GSA Today, v. 28, September 2018). You can access the article at: https://www.geosociety.org/gsatoday/science/G361A/GSATG361A.pdf. For your information: An online document entitled “GSA Critical Issue: Hydraulic Fracturing” provides excellent background information on this topic. You can find this document at http://www.geosociety.org/GSA/Science_Policy/Critical_Issues/hf/GSA/Policy/issues/hf/home.aspx?hkey=2c7eaf82-39ed-4fd1-8f6fd08ac3c415f6. Questions: 1. EGSP = ? What was its overarching goal? 2. OK, well, not quite there yet… What additional advanced technology was necessary? 3. Describe the basic process involving “laterals” that resulted in economic viability of UOG. 4. Simply list the set of basic steps that is required of commercial development of UOG. 5. So, what are some basic environmental concerns with conducting these steps? Figure 1 is helpful here. 6. Briefly describe the fracking process. 7. Assessing human-health impacts UOG development… What are some the general stressors on the environment? 8. What critical role do geoscientists play? 9. Specifics! Identify four (of the seven) research areas that concern / interest you most. 10. DOE research focus… ? 11. DOI research focus… ? Three-fold! 12. Induced seismicity… Who investigates that, and how is it primarily caused? 13. Researchwise, what is EPA up to? 14. What is “FEW”, and why is it important in this context? 15. Airborne particulates from UOG activities… Such as? Simply list a few. And, released how so? 16. The curse and savior of methane… Why is this gas ‘bad’ vs. ‘good’? 17. What is the most common groundwater problem in areas of Marcellus Shale development in PA? Followed by what other dissolved contaminants (plural!)? 18. Important! No evidence for… ? What does this mean?! 19. So, where does stray gas originate? 20. What is needed to assess potential water-quality degradation? Problems in so doing? 21. Increases in UOG activities result in… ? To what environmental effects? 22. Solid-waste issues… What are some potential problems with drill cuttings? 23. A multidisciplinary project in the Rocky Mountain region… A cadre of research results! Simply list these. 24. What sort of assessment has been conducted in Susquehanna Co., PA? And, to what potential insight? 25. HFTS = ? What encouraging news arose from preliminary findings from the HFTS? 26. MSEEL = ? What expected improvements will hopefully arise from research by MSEEL? 27. What could ‘greener’ HF chemicals do? But what motivation is needed for industry to actually use them? 28. How did decreases in oil and gas prices affect research on these efforts? 29. Boom vs. down-time… Link to industry-research efforts. 30. What is particularly challenging to geoscientists when we are called upon to address issues related to fracking? 31. The grand conclusion! All in all, what is our best course of action to accomplish this? 32. What questions do you have about this article or this topic? ...
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Final Answer

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The Environmental / Human-Health Impacts of Unconventional Oil and Gas (UOG) Development.
1. EGSP =? What was its overarching goal?
EGSP- Eastern Gas Shales Project. The goal of adapting engineered hydraulic fracturing treatments, also known
as “fracking,”to create flow paths from natural fracture networks within the shales to vertical wellbores.
2. OK, well, not quite there yet… What additional advanced technology was necessary?
Technical advances in directional drilling for deep-water oil and gas, along with improvements in down-hole bit
navigation.
3. Describe the basic process involving “laterals” that resulted in economic viability of UOG.
These laterals, which contacted a much greater volume of the shale formation than vertical wells, were
stimulated with a series of staged hydraulic fractures carefully spaced into discrete zones along the lateral. The
combination of horizontal drilling and staged hydraulic fracturing resulted in the production of economical
quantities of natural gas from the Barnett Shale, initiating modern shale-gas and tight-oil development.
4. Simply list the set of basic steps that is required of commercial development of UOG.


A series of staged hydraulic fractures



The combination of horizontal drilling



Staged hydraulic fracturing

5. So, what are some basic environmental concerns with conducting these steps? Figure 1 is helpful
here.
Possible risks to air, water, landscapes, ecosystems, and human health
6. Briefly describe the fracking process.
Fracking involves injection of large volumes of water...

PhylisL (2723)
Rice University

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