Shale Gas Information Platform - SHIP


With SHIP an international expert group brought together by GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences engages in the public discussion of technical and environmental issues related to shale gas exploration and production. With News, Basic Information and Expert Articles, SHIP features the scientific perspective within the current debate.  
Although long experience with individual technologies used in shale gas production exists, more research and development is needed towards environmentally friendlier shale gas production. This need is emphasised by reports in the media about environmental concerns. Issues under scrutiny include induced seismicity, leakage of gas through casing into aquifers, the potential toxicity of fluids used for hydraulic fracturing and the disposal of fluids returning to the surface. However, the opinions on environmental risks diverge strongly: risks are minor and controllable according to industry, while environmental groups often claim the opposite.

Research organizations such as GFZ have an active and defining role to play in communicating the knowledge base and the scientific debate on environmental risks. The reason is a clear need of information expressed by the public (citizens, politicians) about energy related topics, and especially shale gas development. Science is very much qualified to take the role of a „honest broker“, since research has an open outcome and is not bound to specific stakeholders interests. In this respect, the target of SHIP is to support opinion-forming, adding factual argument to the pros and cons discussed publicly.