Shale gas webinar to focus on well production and pollution-reduction research

April 05, 2018

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Research conducted by private companies and the U.S. government to make shale gas development more productive and safer for the environment will be the topic of a web-based seminar offered by Penn State Extension.

The one-hour webinar, "Hydraulic Fracturing Test Site: Field Test Site in the Permian Basin Dedicated to Environmental Safety and Stimulation Efficiency Research," will begin at 1 p.m. on Thursday, April 19.

The event will feature Jordan Ciezobka, senior engineer with the Gas Technology Institute; Sarah Eisenlord, principal scientist at the company; and Gary Covatch, petroleum engineer with the U.S. Department of Energy, National Energy Technology Laboratory.

Companies always look for ways to reduce risks and increase production, Covatch noted. The National Energy Technology Laboratory is working with the Gas Technology Institute to study safe ways to reduce potential environmental impacts and increase the efficiency of natural gas recovery in the hydraulic fracturing process.

"The U.S. Department of Energy currently has seven field laboratories that focus on critical gaps in the understanding of reservoir behavior, optimal completion and stimulation, and water disposal in order to increase and enable more cost-efficient and environmentally sound recovery from shale gas, tight oil, heavy oil and tight gas resources," Covatch said.  

"One of the field laboratories is the Hydraulic Fracturing Test Site, which is a collaborative, comprehensive hydraulic fracturing diagnostics and testing program in horizontal wells at a dedicated, controlled field-based site."

At that facility, researchers conducted tests using advanced technologies to adequately characterize, evaluate and improve the effectiveness of individual hydraulic fracture stages. Air quality, groundwater quality and produced water chemistry and microbiology also were monitored before, during and after hydraulic fracturing.

The presenters will provide an overview of Department of Energy field laboratories, the benefits of collaborative research, details of the field test site, and a summary of the field experiments. Early results and next steps will also be discussed.

The presentation is part of Penn State Extension's Shale Education monthly webinar series. Upcoming webinars include the following:

— May 17: "Trends in Natural Gas Indexation and Price Transparency," presented by Dexter Steis, executive publisher of Natural Gas Intelligence.

— June 21: "Biomethanation: A Unique and Sustainable Approach to Renewable Natural Gas," presented by Kevin Harrison, program manager of hydrogen systems owner-energy systems integration facility, and Nancy Dowe, group research manager, biological science, both with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

The webinar is free, but registration is necessary. To register, visit the Penn State Extension Natural Gas Events webpage. More information is available by contacting Carol Loveland at 570-320-4429 or at

Previous webinars, publications and information also are available on the Penn State Extension natural-gas website, covering a variety of topics such as liquid natural gas; seismic testing; methane emissions; water use and quality; Marcellus and Utica basins; natural gas reserves; gas-leasing considerations for landowners; legal issues surrounding gas development; and the impact of Marcellus gas development on forestland.

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Last Updated April 05, 2018