Unconventional gas needs more community support: academics

Unconventional gas extract can be environmentally friendly - but only with community support

Unconventional gas extract can be environmentally friendly - but only with community support

Unconventional gas can be produced in an environmentally responsible manner that provides significant societal benefits – but only if it has community support and provided best practice is followed an international workshop has found.

The Academies Workshop was recently held in Sydney following the International Conference on Unconventional Gas, and brought together academicians and authorities from Australia, UK, USA, Canada, China, South Africa, Argentina, Germany and Switzerland.

The Communiqué from the workshop said gaining community support for unconventional gas developments requires sustained engagement, recognition of prevailing community values, communication of scientific, technical and socio-economic information by trusted sources, certainty in the regulatory regime and confidence that long-term socioeconomic benefits will accrue.

The workshop also found that there is “an ongoing need to better understand the properties of the rocks hosting unconventional gas resources, including their geology and structure, fracture mechanics, anisotropy adsorption characteristics and hydrogeology. This knowledge will not only potentially improve the economics of gas recovery but also help to minimise environmental impacts.”

The Workshop Chair, Professor Peter Cook, said the meetings provided an outstanding example of how the Academy could bring a credible and informed perspective to such an important and controversial topic.

Professor Cook said “In so doing, ATSE (The Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering) can assist government, industry and the community at large to communicate the technical issues and challenges and contribute to developing a way forward that addresses community concerns and confers great national and international benefit. 

“This week, Federal and State Energy Ministers meet to discuss a range of energy issues, including unconventional gas, so the release of the Communiqué is timely.”

The full Communiqué can be found here:

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