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Research Highlight

Hydrocarbons - Better oil and gas seeking

A novel approach developed by ORNL could streamline processes for locating oil and natural gas in shale deposits.

Finding optimal locations for extracting petroleum and natural gas from shale could become more economical and efficient thanks to a new approach developed by Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The research team combined two existing statistical models and applied them to publicly available geographic data to accurately characterize the availability of hydrocarbons in five, high-producing shale plays in the United States and Canada. “Mid-size oil and gas companies, plus those outside of industry, could leverage this method to reduce overall production, extraction time and cost and the potential of environmental disturbances,” ORNL’s Joanna McFarlane said. The research, published in the Journal of Natural Gas Science and Engineering, was led by former student Elisabeth Gallmeier with Shichen Zhang, who both participated in Oak Ridge High School’s Senior Math Thesis program.