Shale gas extraction (SGE) and, more precisely, hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, has a propensity to court controversy wherever it is proposed. Many processes within SGE are essentially civil engineering processes and while numerous studies into the efficacy of SGE exist, answers to ethical and societal questions relating to safety, health and environmental sustainability remain unanswered. Recently, the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change announced its intention to support studies that encourage the development of innovative technologies for safe andresponsible exploitation of the UK’s shale gas resources. This paper explores the current state of knowledge regarding safety, health and wellbeing in the SGE industry, and presents the case for a detailed multi-disciplinary value-engineering study to develop pre-drill assessments and to provide ongoing monitoring tools that will assure public authorities, market operators and citizens that best-practice environmental, safety and sustainability approaches are available and feasible.
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- fossil fuels
- health & safety
- infrastructure planning