West Virginia University is encouraging critical conversations about the use of shale and natural gas oil resources through its sponsorship of the Unconventional Hydrocarbon Roundtable launched by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine today (Oct. 8).

The international roundtable was conceived by the National Academies to provide a neutral forum where leading experts from government, industry, academia, non-governmental and international organizations can meet to gather, examine and communicate the facts and data surrounding unconventional hydrocarbons—which includes shale and natural gas oil resources—to facilitate informed decision-making about its development and use.

“The National Academies have tremendous credibility and convening power,” WVU President Gordon Gee said. “As a result, this roundtable will be a great way to share information and contribute to the development of research and policy agendas related to these critical energy sources. West Virginia University’s sponsorship of this roundtable demonstrates our continued commitment to being a leader on shale energy issues.”

A series of roundtables on topics related to the opportunities and challenges associated with unconventional hydrocarbons will be held over a period of three years at locations to be determined.

According to Brian Anderson, director of the WVU Energy Institute, the roundtables are designed to extract data and knowledge from experts that will inform and educate stakeholders, industry and lawmakers, including using discussion reports that stem from these conversations to shape shale energy policy on Capitol Hill and form industry best practices.

“The National Academies’ Roundtable is a terrific forum for WVU to help share our expertise on the challenges and opportunities associated with unconventional hydrocarbon development,” Anderson said. “WVU has many experts from which the roundtable will be able to draw knowledge, input and advice. Additionally, our Marcellus Shale and Energy and Environment Laboratory project will be able to provide unprecedented access to a wealth of data and information to the discussions. I am excited that WVU is a founding sponsor and member of the National Academies’ Roundtable and I am honored to serve as WVU’s technical representative.”

WVU was the first sponsor to commit to the roundtables. They were approached about sponsorship by the National Academies because of their sponsorship of a two-day National Research Council workshop on energy policy, research and best practices in 2013.

According to Fred King, WVU’s vice president for research, these important sponsorships and dialogues are a vital part of WVU’s responsibilities as a land grant institution.

“West Virginia University is proud to be a sponsor and participant of this important National Academies’ Roundtable,” King said. “Convening dialogs among leading experts on important topics of the day is one of the principal responsibilities of land grant universities. This will help advance our understanding of both the opportunities and challenges presented by unconventional hydrocarbon resources.”

WVU joins a list of sponsors that includes academic peers The Ohio State University, Texas A&M Engineering, Colorado School of Mines and Flinders University.

Additional sponsors include the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, American Association of Petroleum Geologists Foundation, The Department of the Interior—including the Bureau on Safety and Environmental Enforcement, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Geological Survey—the Environmental Defense Fund, GE Oil and Gas, ExxonMobil, Schlumberger and the Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation.



CONTACT: Brian Anderson, Director, WVU Energy Institute
304.293.6631; Brian.Anderson@mail.wvu.edu

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