WVU Plans Marcellus Studies at the Morgantown Industrial Park

WVU creates the first-ever field laboratory for the long-term study of shale gas resources

WVU Today
6 November 2014

As the Appalachian Region feels the impact of the burgeoning shale-energy industry, a consortium of researchers and industrial partners led by West Virginia University, with the assistance of The Ohio State University, will conduct the first-ever long-term, comprehensive field study of a natural resource that has changed the country’s – and the world’s – energy supply.

The five-year, $11 million agreement with the U.S. Department of Energy will allow the research team to create and manage the Marcellus Shale Energy and Environment Laboratory, a field site and dedicated research laboratory at the Morgantown Industrial Park. Together with the DOE’s National Energy Technology Laboratory and Northeast Natural Energy – a Charleston-based private oil and natural gas company that owns and operates the site – the lab will engage a unique and diverse team of geoscientists, hydrologists, engineers, ecologists, social scientists and public health professionals.

The team will identify and demonstrate technologies required for best practices in environmentally responsible shale development, from drilling to completion through production. Additionally, the laboratory will offer real-world education and training for undergraduate and graduate students to address the complex technical, environmental and social issues surrounding unconventional energy development and production.

“To date, there has been no comprehensive long-term field study that addresses baseline measurements, subsurface development and environmental monitoring with unconventional resource development,” said Timothy Carr, WVU’s Marshall Miller professor of geology, principal investigator of the award and director of the laboratory.