RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK , N.C. -- A new book, Shale Gas: The Promise and the Peril, offers a balanced look at the intense debate surrounding shale gas production and the process of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

The book was written by Vikram Rao, Ph.D., executive director of the Research Triangle Energy Consortium, who has more than 30 years of experience in energy research and development.

Written for a non-technical audience, the book is intended to inform both sides of the fracking debate by highlighting potentially positive and negative outcomes associated with shale gas production, which has the potential to transform the worldwide energy-based economy.

The book examines shale gas usage from the standpoint of economic value, potential environmental hazards and remedies, and political considerations with a goal of introducing supporters and opponents to issues they were not previously aware of. By analyzing current and past developments in natural gas production, Shale Gas: The Promise and the Peril lays the groundwork needed to inform future policy decisions regarding this resource.

For example, Rao suggests “The biggest winner from a prohibition of fracturing and hence shale gas production would be Russia, closely followed by Iran… Absent shale gas, Russian gas will increasingly enjoy a monopoly in many European countries.”

The book includes an introduction to shale gas, an in-depth analysis of environmental and economic issues related to fracking, and concludes with suggestions for research and guidance for policy making related to responsible shale gas production. Each section contains short chapters that are fairly self-contained, allowing readers to focus on chapters of interest.

Shale Gas: The Promise and the Peril was published by RTI Press and is available on the RTI Press website.