Understanding productivity effects of hydraulic fracturing in unconventional natural gas deposits and implications for adoption in the developing world

Timothy Fitzgerald, Charles F. Mason

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Hydraulic fracturing (HF) has transformed the North American oil and gas industry, leading to increased consumer surplus and reduced carbon emissions. While HF may have similar potential for the developing world, adoption has been limited to date, plausibly because of perceptions of potential local costs and the need to develop technical proficiency. We empirically evaluate the incremental contribution of HF in the United States. We find considerable evidence of differences in application and productivity across operating firms and vertical pairings of firms, suggesting intellectual property and learning by doing may both play important roles. At the same time, secrecy regarding the chemical composition of fluids used in HF is a potential deterrent to its application for fear of local costs. Developing countries must accommodate these characteristics if adoption of HF is to help meet energy demands and achieve climate policy goals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)281-301
Number of pages21
JournalEnvironment and Development Economics
Volume26
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2021

Keywords

  • hydraulic fracturing
  • innovation
  • natural gas
  • oilfield service companies
  • toxicity
  • trade secrets

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