UK university awarded £1.9 million research grant to study fracking

Fracking diagram
Source: DollarPhotoClub

A team from Keele University – in North Staffordshire, UK – has been selected to be a part of a European and U.S. consortium, which has won £1.9 million to conduct research on the environmental impact of shale gas and fracking.

The Applied and Environmental Geophysics Group at Keele University, led by Professor Peter Styles, with Dr Rachel Westwood and Mr Sam Toon, has been selected to join a European and US consortium that has won 2.7 million Euros (£1.9 million) in a call for research into the environmental aspects of shale gas operations. The project is to be called SHEER (Shale gas Exploration and Exploitation induced Risks) and is part of the HORIZON 2020 programme.

Professor Styles was the author of the DECC report on seismicity induced by the initial experimental hydraulic stimulation near Blackpool in 2011 but first monitored ’fracking’ in 1988 in the East Midlands and so the Keele group are unique in having actually monitored shale gas activities in Europe. The objective of the SHEER proposal is to develop best practices aimed at assessing the impacts and mitigating the environmental footprint of shale gas extraction and exploration which will inform the legislation for and regulation of Unconventional Oil and Gas across the whole of Europe.

The consortium includes collaborators from Italy, United Kingdom (Keele University, Glasgow University and RSK Water), Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the University of Laramie, Wyoming, USA – where much shale gas activity has already been carried out for several decades – and a number of local governance authorities. It will develop a probabilistic procedure for assessing the short and long-term risk associated with the following potential hazards:

  • Groundwater Contamination,
  • Air Pollution,
  • Induced Seismicity.

On a separate note, it was announced yesterday that the group had also won another European Grant (INFRADEV) to create a Comprehensive database of Episodes of Anthropogenic (Induced Seismicity) together with the operational parameters which casued them so that human activities can be better moderated to avoid these environmental problems.

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