Unconventional Oil & Natural Gas

diagram of a hydraulic fracturing operation
  • Oil and natural gas development has been around for decades
  • Improvements in extraction technologies have expanded development into new regions
  • Even people familiar with conventional oil and gas development may not be familiar with the pace, scale, or type of unconventional development
  • Questions about potential effects on human health and the environment persist
  • Unconventional oil and natural gas development (sometimes referred to as hydraulic fracturing or "fracking") is a driving force behind significant economic and energy policy shifts in the United States and the world today. Technological advances in development are substantially increasing energy supplies, while at the same time outpacing the scientific research that can answer questions about the development’s potential effects. With funding from private foundations, HEI has developed an impartial, multidisciplinary Strategic Research Agenda to help guide future research about potential adverse impacts. At this time, HEI is developing an implementation plan to address the most pressing research questions.

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