A three-dimentional approach to oil and gas shale exploitation in the US

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


For the last two decades oil and gas shale exploitation is going through a real revolution as on one hand the technology to extract those energy resources is improving at an impressive pace and on the other hand high gas price since 2003 made the winning of shale gas economically attractive. When some years later gas price started to show some signs of stagnation or even decline and that on the opposite oil price continued to rise, drilling companies improved their boring technology by means of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracking. Although views differ as to the exact environmental impacts, it is indisputable that besides technical challenges and world market prices the ecological balance also has be taken into account while exploiting new or existing hydrocarbon reserves.
When analyzing the total quantity of available mineral resources versus the potentially exploitable mineral resources, the two traditionally used factors are technique and economics. This classic two dimensional vision is displayed among others in an original diagram developed by McKelvey in 1976. In this chapter a three-dimensional approach of McKelvey’s box is proposed. The third diagram dimension includes parameters - like the environmental approach - which cannot be neglected any longer today. This new angle will be applied to the exploitation of oil and gas shale.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDiversity in Coastal Marine Sciences
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-319-57577-3
ISBN (Print)978-3-319-57576-6
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • oil and gas shale, oil price, fracking, environmental impacts, land disruption, pollution

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