With support of the SEG Research Committee, the authors of this paper organized a special session at the 2011 SEG Annual Meeting focused on the environmental challenges of developing tight, unconventional hydrocarbon reservoirs with special emphasis on the controversial hydraulic fracturing technology. Goals of the session were to support a better understanding of the challenges from the environmental perspective and to discuss possible solutions to these challenges through improving existing methods and developing novel exploration and stimulation techniques. Recognized unconventional resource experts brought their perspectives to the special session to highlight these challenges and work toward bringing the community together for solutions. It is evident that advances in horizontal drilling and multistage fracturing technologies have had significant influence on the global spread of the exploration for and production from gas shale and shale oil reservoirs.

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