Natural gas has a vital role in the world’s pursuit of clean energy. The United States is home to several reserves of commercially viable natural gas exploited through horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing technologies, which allow access to gas in shale formations. This accessibility allows for a vast number of uses for natural gas varying from domestic benefits, power generation, transportation, fertilization, to manufacturing.
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The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) hopes to frame the current clamor for natural gas in terms of boosting the economy, laying out energy security, and keeping it friendly towards the environment and public health. In doing so, it works with stakeholders to make sure that gas extraction proceeds according to environmental standards and laws. Among such efforts is the agency’s ongoing study to explore the plausible impacts of hydraulic fracturing on water resources. The research scope focuses on the full cycle of water use in hydraulic fracturing and the impact to drinking water safety of each step of the process.
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The study’s progress report was released in December 2012. While this progress report summarizes the details of the study, it does not present conclusions yet on the impacts of hydraulic fracturing on drinking water safety. Congress awaits the definitive results of the study in 2014.
EPA has worked with stakeholders and industry leaders so that the study would be based on contemporary hydraulic fracturing practices and trends.
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The ‘Natural Gas Engineering Handbook’ authored by Ali Ghalambor and Boyun Guo, illustrates more concepts about natural gas production. For more information about the subject, follow this Twitter page.