BUFFALO, N.Y. -- A new Shale Resources and Society Institute
based in the University at Buffalo College of Arts and Sciences,
Department of Geology, will serve as a resource to help the public,
policymakers and other stakeholders understand shale's potential as
an energy resource.
The goal of the institute is to provide accurate, research-based
information on the development of shale and other unconventional
resources, said John P. Martin, the institute's director.
Specifically, the institute will conduct and disseminate
peer-reviewed research that can help guide policymakers on issues
relating to hydraulic fracturing and the development of energy
resources. The institute will also educate students and provide the
public with accurate information.
The institute's work will draw on the expertise and perspectives
of external research partners and UB faculty members in disciplines
ranging from engineering to law and the social sciences. Activities
will focus on four areas relating to shale development: fractures,
fluids and migration; groundwater and surface environmental
impacts; societal impacts; and policy and regulation.
"We're really trying to provide fact-based, objective
information," Martin said. "We're guided by science."
"Many people in New York State have a strong opinion on this
issue," said Robert Jacobi, the center's co-director and a longtime
UB professor of geology. "We want to become a valuable community
resource where anyone can come and read about current research,
outreach and education, and have a feeling that they can trust
Martin said the institute plans to seek funding from sources
including industry and individuals, as well as agencies that
support scientific research relating to energy. Future plans
include establishing a management committee for the institute that
includes the voices of environmental organizations and other
In addition to serving as director of the Shale Resources and
Society Institute, Martin is the founder and principal consultant
of JPMartin Energy Strategy LLC, which provides strategic planning,
resource evaluation and other services to the energy industry,
academic institutions and governments.
Prior to forming the consultancy in 2011, Martin spent 17 years
working on energy research and policy issues at the New York State
Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and developed a
series of projects targeting oil and gas resources, renewable
energy development and environmental mitigation. He holds a PhD in
Urban and Environmental Studies from Rensselaer Polytechnic
Jacobi, a field and lab geoscientist, has extensive experience
in academia and industry. A member of UB's faculty since 1980, he
has over 30 years of experience teaching the structure, tectonics
and evolution of North America, marine geology and geophysics,
sedimentology and stratigraphy.
His present research focus includes identifying, understanding
and predicting the trends of faults, fractures and folds in black
shales. In addition to his work at UB, Jacobi is senior geology
advisor for EQT Production, a Pittsburgh-based energy company. He
recently consulted for the New York State Department of
Environmental Conservation concerning hydraulic fracturing, with
respect to faults and potential seismic activity. He holds a PhD in
geology from Columbia University.