The international team, led by Edinburgh scientists, will carry out research aimed at improving understanding of the subsurface geological, mechanical and chemical processes involved.
Researchers will examine various aspects of the technique, as a contribution towards the development of new European regulations specific to the shale sector.
Some experts say existing regulations for oil and gas recovery are not suited to fracking – while Public Health England, the Royal Society in Edinburgh and the UK government have all published studies which show UK regulation is among the most stringent in the world.
Scientists will make recommendations to EU member states to develop legislation that mitigates the likely impacts of gas exploration and recovery.
Partners principally from across Europe will take part in the three-year project, funded by the European Union Horizon 2020 programme.
Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, is an engineering technique to extract gas or oil from very low permeability rock formations, normally on land. It involves drilling to depths of over 1 km and high-pressure injection of fluid into the ground, to fracture shale rocks and release natural gas.
Research will be based on collecting data, carrying out experiments and creating computer models of how natural materials respond to fracking stresses. Models will be validated by comparing them with data from fracking sites in the US and proxies in Europe.
Scientists will examine key ways in which contaminants could be lost. This ranges from leakage of fluids from faulty boreholes, through natural faults, or from excessively long induced fractures. The project will also consider the impact of any minimal seismic events induced by fracking.
Results from the project will be shared at www.fracrisk.eu
See also: –
England steps on the (shale) gas with new £30m test drill programme, while Scotland stagnates –http://goo.gl/zEOloq
SNP’s Westminster Energy spokesman sets out the Five Fracking Tests for UK shale gas sector – http://goo.gl/s3qoVm
When Scotland’s shale energy industry led the world – http://goo.gl/BE2wub
Shale and Safety: get the fracking facts right from the Royal Society of Edinburgh – http://goo.gl/BMO6Xp
‘Shale gas may not offer an ideal solution to our energy needs. But banning it makes neither economic nor environmental sense’