Producers using new technologies to drill oil and gas wells in shale fields face special environmental and safety risks that, left unmitigated, result in more safety incidents than conventional operations.
That presents the industry with two problems, each of which is capable of burying the shale business under lawsuits and regulations. First, there are real safety and environmental risks that oil and gas companies must address by adapting their existing operational risk management systems. Second, there is a perception of risk among local people and environmental activists that isn’t always justified. Thus far, however, energy producers lack an approach that satisfies this concern.