Environmental issues related to energy development are not confined to the United States – they are worldwide concerns. While the United States is leading the research on issues ranging from induced seismicity related to deep wastewater injection and possibly hydraulic fracturing, the preservation of water and air quality, fugitive gas emissions and the mitigation of offshore oil spills, other countries also are confronted with these same matters.
I met with several representatives from Nigeria at the Africa Region meeting at ACE 2016 in Calgary last summer, and their primary objectives in energy development are to preserve water resources and animal life. Ireland recently completed an independent study to determine if onshore exploratory wells should be drilled and what are the potential environmental impacts. The United Kingdom also is reluctant to engage in developing petroleum reserves because of possible adverse impacts from drilling and hydraulic fracturing. Canada is actively looking to collaborate with government agencies and universities to research topics related to the responsible development of reserves while protecting the environment.
The Division of Environmental Geosciences has an obligation to provide science-based opinions of these issues to educate the public, government officials and other petroleum industry professionals. We have several committees that would welcome input on these subjects from both members and non-members. Two new committees are being formed that will provide expertise on induced seismicity and fugitive gas emissions. Please look at our website at aapg.org to learn more about the division and ways that you can be involved to help resolve some of the potential environmental problems facing the industry that may hinder energy development.