Shale Gas Research


ReFINE is an independent research consortium led jointly by Newcastle University and Durham Energy Institute. The consortium focuses on researching the issue of shale gas and oil exploitation using fracking methods and its potential risks.

Timeline of Work:

Shale Gas Research Timeline


Over a two year period ReFINE will carry out scientific research, with the recognition that there are many important social impacts related to the potentially widespread exploitation of gas- or oil-rich shales across Europe.

Latest Publication

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On 24th June 2014 ReFINE published a study into the radioactivity of fracking flowback water in the journal Environmental Science and Pollution Research. The paper, entitled "The Flux of Radionuclides in Flowback Fluid from Shale Gas Exploitation" is available for free download.

Download Paper


Latest News

The Irish News
13 August 2014

ReFINE scientist Prof. Richard Davies is interviewed by The Irish News in response to protests over exploratory drilling in Fermanagh. On the issue of potential water contamination, Prof. Davies said, "One of the big learning points from the US is that you need to understand the level of contamination before any drilling or fracking takes place. Baseline surveys are seen as good practice and it provides confidence as to whether your activity has caused damage to the environment."

BBC News 24
07 July 2014

Prof. Richard Davies is interviewed by BBC News 24, discussing the logistics and potential risks of a UK based shale gas industry. Discussing the potential for aquifer contamination from fracking, Prof. Davies recommends, based on ReFINE research, a minimum vertical separation of 600m between aquifers and fracking operations. On the subject of well integrity, Prof. Davies calls for monitoring of abandoned wells, and the public availability of monitoring data as part of an open, honest dialogue with the public around the issue of fracking.

Richard Davies Interviewed for BBC News
04 July 2014

Following the publication of a British Geological Survey report into the locations of Britain's shale rocks and aquifers, ReFINE's Prof. Richard Davies is interviewed alongside BGS representatives. The report examines and maps the separation between shales and aquifers (water-bearing rocks) across the UK and will contribute to the assesment of the potential risk of fracking in certain areas. Prof. Davies said, "A small percentage of wells used to do the fracking could leak, and it is critically important that those wells are checked".


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