Shale Gas: Development Opportunities and Challenges

Mark Zoback

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The use of horizontal drilling and multistage hydraulic fracturing technologies has enabled the production of immense quantities of natural gas, to date principally in North America but increasingly in other countries around the world. The global availability of this resource creates both opportunities and challenges that need to be addressed in a timely and effective manner. There seems little question that rapid shale gas development, coupled with fuel switching from coal to natural gas for power generation, can have beneficial effects on air pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, and energy security in many countries. In this context, shale gas resources represent a critically important transition fuel on the path to a decarbonized energy future. For these benefits to be realized, however, it is imperative that shale gas resources be developed with effective environmental safeguards to reduce their impact on land use, water resources, air quality, and nearby communities.
Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)16-23
Number of pages8
JournalThe Bridge
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2014

Bibliographical note

The Bridge is published by the National Academy of Engineering:

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-6A50-61466


  • air
  • communities
  • development
  • emissions
  • energy security
  • greenhouse gas
  • impact
  • land
  • shale gas
  • water


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