Dror Etzion

An Analysis of Hydraulic Fracturing well siting in the Pennsylvania Marcellus Shale Boom


Hydraulic fracturing has rapidly emerged as a game changing technology for extracting oil and gas from unconventional shale formations. Wells developed with this technology necessitate only a small footprint, and can therefore be sited virtually anywhere, including in close proximity to homes and civic areas. With its ascendance, critics of the technology have emphasized the potential environmental and health impacts in the vicinity of wells. In this study, we assess how community attributes affected well siting decisions in Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Formation from the onset of development in 2004 through 2014. We find that although many wells were sited within vulnerable communities, a similar number of wells were sited within prosperous communities. Some indicators of human capital and social cohesion predicted well siting decisions in areas where development activity was particularly intense. We show that these siting effects are nuanced and appear to be regionally contingent on packages of attributes that make communities more or less attractive for such organizational activities. In light of our findings, we propose the concept of community profiling as a helpful construct for understanding the linkage between community attributes and organizational activity.

Location: ESSEC Cergy Campus, N231 (Le Club)
Date: May 12th at 10h00