I am hearing that the so-called Shale Gas Commission convened by United States Department of Energy Secretary Chu to provide advice on improving the environmental performance of shale gas and hydraulic fracturing will release its report this thursday.
The Commission entered the maelstrom of shale gas policy and some of its members have been attacked by some opponents of hydraulic fracturing and shale gas. Will the Report recommend stopping shale gas development? No. That alone will draw condemnation of the Report from those wishing to shutdown the industry.
Since the Report will not recommend shutting down the industry, what should we be looking for in the Report? Take a look at what specific issues the Report discusses. How many? Are they narrowly focused on hydraulic fracturing itself? Or do they reach other issues such as gas migration that are associated with the drilling phase of gas well development? See how specific any recommendations are that it makes about the issues it discusses.
Another interesting area will be the issue of industry oversight. The Report will almost certainly address this topic. Will it recommend new oversight institutions? Will it stick with industry led and controlled best practice initiatives and organizations as being fully adequate and sufficient? Or will it recognize that credible oversight must involve non-industry stakeholders in positions of responsibility and not in merely advisory roles?
It will be an interesting read this thursday.