Sustainable Shale Oil and Gas

Sustainable Shale Oil and Gas

Analytical Chemistry, Geochemistry, and Biochemistry Methods

1st Edition - September 27, 2016

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  • Authors: Vikram Rao, Rob Knight
  • eBook ISBN: 9780128103906
  • Paperback ISBN: 9780128103890

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Shale oil and gas have altered the energy landscape, possibly permanently. They burst upon the fossil energy scene with a suddenness that initially defied prediction. Even the political balance of the world has changed. But, with the methods employed, the vast majority of the oil and gas remains in the ground. At the same time, serious environmental impact issues have been raised. A new volume in the Emerging Issues in Analytical Chemistry series, Sustainable Shale Oil and Gas: Analytical Chemistry, Geochemistry, and Biochemistry Methods was written on the premise that analytical methods to inform these areas were wanting. While not attempting to be comprehensive, it describes important analytical methods, some still in development. These methods are underpinned primarily by chemistry, but geochemistry and even biochemistry play significant roles. The book has a solutions flavor; problems are posed together with approaches to ameliorate them.

Key Features

  • Provides a clear understanding of the potential environmental issues as well as a path to solutions
  • Includes background information for understanding potential impacts of shale operations from both an environmental and public health perspective
  • Authored by leaders from diverse disciplines with expertise in a variety of areas: groundwater quality, petroleum-related operations, microbial ecology, and electronic technologies
  • Reviews new sensing and evaluation methods that could be key enablers to sustainable fracking: portable mass spectrometry, microbiome analysis, DNA as tracers, and a microparticulate matter detector


Technology leaders, technical leaders in environmental compliance groups, and research personnel in oil and gas companies; epidemiologists in the lung and heart space; public health professionals; technical aides to legislators; all with a knowledge of college level inorganic chemistry and preferably organic chemistry. Could be used in advanced undergraduate and low level graduate courses in environmental sciences

Table of Contents

  • Chapter 1. Background

    • Abstract
    • Oil
    • Natural Gas
    • Environmental Considerations

    Part I: Air Emissions

    • Part I. Air Emissions
    • Chapter 2. Fugitive Methane and Emissions From Flaring
      • Abstract
      • Sources of Methane Leakage
      • Producing Wells
      • Transmission Lines
      • Beyond the City Gate
      • Methane Hydrates and Their Role in Global Warming
      • Flared Gas
      • Quantifying Fugitive Methane
      • Climate Change Impact of Natural Gas Substitution of Fuels
      • References
    • Chapter 3. Detection of Methane and Amelioration
      • Abstract
      • ARPA-E and EDF Programs for Detection
      • Green Completions
      • Alternatives to Flaring Gas
      • Syngas Production Using a Diesel Engine
      • References
    • Chapter 4. Particulate Matter and Volatile Organic Chemicals
      • Abstract
      • Particulate Matter
      • Small Low-Cost Particulate Matter Measuring Devices
      • Volatile Organic Compounds
      • Portable High-Performance Mass Spectrometer
      • References

    Part II: The Potential for Contaminating Ground Water

    • Part II. The Potential for Contaminating Ground Water
    • Chapter 5. Methane in Groundwater
      • Abstract
      • Potential for Gas Migration
      • Distinguishing Between Sources of Methane
      • Investigations of Methane Migration to Aquifers
      • References
    • Chapter 6. Potential for Liquid Contamination of Groundwater
      • Abstract
      • Flowback Water
      • Disposition of Flowback and Produced Water
      • Investigations of Groundwater Contamination
      • Possible Contamination from Handling and Storage
      • Conclusions
      • References

    Part III: Improving Economics of Recovery

    • Part III. Improving Economics of Recovery
    • Chapter 7. Illuminating the Reservoir
      • Abstract
      • Formation Evaluation of Conventional Reservoirs
      • Formation Evaluation of Unconventional Reservoirs
      • References
    • Chapter 8. Improving Net Recovery of Fluids
      • Abstract
      • Natural Fractures
      • Heterogeneity in Horizontal Wellbores
      • Understanding and Harnessing Heterogeneity
      • Methods to Improve Recovery
      • Conclusion
      • References
    • Chapter 9. Subsurface DNA Sequencing: A New Tool for Reservoir Characterization
      • Abstract
      • Microbes in Rocks and Elsewhere
      • Microbes as Forensic Markers
      • Workflows for DNA Sequencing in the Subsurface
      • Sample Acquisition
      • Data Analysis
      • Microbiome Data Analysis Measures
      • Application of DNA Sequencing in the Subsurface
      • References

    Part IV: Informing Policy

    • Part IV. Informing Policy
    • Chapter 10. Enabling Regulations and Empowering the Public
      • Abstract
      • Water-Related Regulation
      • The Chemicals Disclosure Issue
      • Air-Related Regulation
      • Flaring Regulation
      • Public’s Right to Know and Citizen Science
      • Conclusions
      • References

Product details

  • No. of pages: 188
  • Language: English
  • Copyright: © Elsevier 2016
  • Published: September 27, 2016
  • Imprint: Elsevier
  • eBook ISBN: 9780128103906
  • Paperback ISBN: 9780128103890

About the Authors

Vikram Rao

Vikram Rao
Vikram Rao is the executive director of the Research Triangle Energy Consortium, having assumed this position on September 1, 2008. He spent 9 years with Halliburton and another 25 with predecessor companies. Most recently, he served as senior vice president and chief technology officer responsible for Halliburton’s technology effort as well as intellectual asset management. He joined a predecessor company in 1974 as a senior research engineer. Dr. Rao currently advises the non-profit RTI International and the firms BioLargo Inc., Biota Technology Inc., Alchemy Sciences Inc., Fervo Energy Inc., Sage Geosystems Inc., Clyra Medical Technologies Inc., and Cybele Microbiome Inc. He is a past chairman of the North Carolina Mining and Energy Commission. He is the author of more than 30 publications and has been awarded 42 United States patents and foreign analogs. RTI Press released his book Shale Gas: The Promise and the Peril in July 2012 and a revised second edition in 2015. His book Sustainable Shale Oil and Gas in the Emerging Issues in Analytical Chemistry series, with Dr. Rob Knight, was released in 2016. Rao earned a doctorate and a master’s in engineering from Stanford University and holds a bachelor’s degree in engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras in Chennai, India.

Affiliations and Expertise

Executive Director, Research Triangle Energy Consortium, Research Triangle Park, NC, United States

Rob Knight

Rob Knight is a Professor in the Biological Sciences Graduate Program at the University of California San Diego. He received his Ph.D. from Princeton University. His research interests include the human microbiome, microbial community ecology, and multi-omics analyses. His current areas of focus are bioinformatics and glycobiology.

Affiliations and Expertise

University of California San Diego, La Jolla, CA , USA

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