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SCI Public Evening Lecture - Shale gas and fracking: the science behind the controversy

Shale gas has risen from almost nothing in 2000 to providing a third of US domestic natural gas production today - and is predicted to supply half of US production by 2035.

The abundance of cheap shale gas is affecting US electricity generation and industry, its balance of imports and exports, and global geopolitics of energy supply and demand. But there’s a huge fuss surrounding shale - rarely has a technique in the oil and gas industry attracted so much attention. The discussions are remarkably polarised with some people passionately supporting shale gas because of its ability to generate wealth, and others doubting that its extraction can be done safely and consistently with our wishes to reduce climate-changing carbon dioxide.

In this talk Mike Stephenson examines some of the scientific evidence published in peer-reviewed papers, concentrating on fugitive emissions and groundwater contamination, and come to some conclusions about the environmental sustainability of shale gas and whether it has a place in modern energy.

Join SCI for its Public Evening Lecture series which are free and open to all. This talk forms part of SCI’s 2014/15 Outreach Programme of Evening Lectures.


Mr Mike Stephenson | talks


Date and Time:

29 January 2015 at 6:00 pm


2 hours



15 Belgrave Square

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About the Speaker

Mike Stephenson is Director of Science and Technology at the British Geological Survey. Mike has degrees from Imperial College and Sheffield University and runs the Science Programme at BGS, the UK's national geoscience and data centre, with 520 scientists and technologists. He has professorships at Nottingham and Leicester universities and has published over seventy peer-reviewed papers, while also acting on the editorial boards of several journals, and as Editor-in-Chief of an Elsevier geological journal. His new book 'Shale gas and fracking: the science behind the controversy' (Elsevier) will be published in February 2015.

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