In the United States, where shale gas development has principally been taking place to date, some organizations have begun to offer guidance on best practices for the use of hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling:
- The State Review of Oil & Natural Gas Environmental Regulations (STRONGER) is “a non-profit, multi-stakeholder organization whose purpose is to assist states in documenting the environmental regulations associated with the exploration, development and production of crude oil and natural gas.”
- The Center for Sustainable Shale Development, a collaboration among industry, environmental, and philanthropic organizations, aims to develop innovative best practices for sustainable shale development through the establishment of performance standards and a certification process that evaluates whether companies achieve those standards.
Industry Principles and Standards
The oil & gas industry has long established principles and guidance for best practices with regard to community health, recognizing that good stakeholder engagement can help to reduce project risks. The International Association of Oil & Gas Producers (OGP) and the International Petroleum Industry Environmental Conservation Association (IPIECA), a global oil and gas industry association for environmental and social issues, have produced several relevant guidance documents, including:
- “Good Practice Guidelines for the Development of Shale Oil and Gas” (December 2013)
- “Managing Health for Field Operations in Oil and Gas Activities” (2011)
The American Petroleum Institute (API), an industry association, has produced several industry guidance documents and recommended practices on shale development operations:
- “Hydraulic Fracturing Operations – Well Construction and Integrity Guidelines,” API Guidance Document HF1, First Edition (October 2009)
- “Hydraulic Fracturing – Well Integrity and Fracture Containment” (ANSI/API Recommended Practice 100-1)
- “Managing Environmental Aspects Associated with Exploration and Production Operations Including Hydraulic Fracturing” (ANSI/API Recommended Practice 100-2)
The recommended practice documents 100-1 and 100-2 are newly released documents that are available for free public viewing (or for sale to download) on the API website. To access, register, select “Browse read-only documents now,” then select “Exploration and Production,” and scroll to recommended practices 100-1 and 100-2.
Other industry associations that have developed recommendations for best practices on shale gas development include:
- The Appalachian Shale Recommended Practices Group, a consortium of the 11 largest natural gas and oil producers operating in the Appalachian Basin.
- Marcellus Shale Coalition, an industry association focused on the Marcellus and Utica shale plays, has developed a set of recommended practices on specific issues related to shale development.
Many individual operators have elaborated their own sets of principles with regard to shale development. Some examples can be found here: