Shale gas has transformed the energy market in the United States where drilling is underway in 17 states, with more than 80,000 wells drilled or permitted since 2005. Deposits elsewhere in the world are under varying degrees of exploration.
The main environmental impacts of the process are water usage, waste water management, methane emissions, groundwater and soil contamination. These are generally addressed as part of national environmental regulations and strong stakeholder engagement is critical in addressing concerns.
Noise impact is also a significant issue. Drilling typically takes place 24 hours a day, and where drilling is close to residential areas there is a significant risk of disturbance triggering complaints.