Environmental Impacts in Unconventional Gas Production
RiskCom was retained by the German Ministry of Environment, Conservation, and Reactor Safety to lead a study, together with a team of selected scientific experts, on the “Environmental Impacts of Fracturing associated with the Exploration and Production of Natural Gas, particularly Shale Gas“. The research project encompassed issues related to the development of groundwater monitoring concepts, review of the technical state of practice for managing fracture blowback wastestreams, preparation of studies on the state of research concerning emissions and climate change effects from production of natural gas from unconventional reservoirs, risk assessment for inducing or triggering seismic events, areal footprint aspects of fracturing on the environment, as well as effects on natural features and noise scenario assessments. The results were presented in terms of an evaluation of risks attributable to the production of natural gas from unconventional reservoirs, and included recommendations for proper procedures and guidelines to ensure the safe application of fracturing. Most of the study recommendations were incorporated into the Ministry’s draft regulation on fracturing.
Risk Assessment – Chemicals in Toys
RiskCom conducted a survey on the Information and Transfer of Scientific Knowldege regarding Chemicals in Toys. This work subsequently led to an undertaking of a risk assessment of the entire collected database covering the total product value chain. The risk assessment determined that there was a potential for improvement in the information transfer and the nature of relationships between individual participants in the supply chain and market structure. Although some trade relationships are found to be based on long term, productive collaboration, many are also found to be extremely short lived. The results of this study provided recommendations regarding two methods for addressing improvements in information transfer. The first technical approach focuses on the type of information, and the means by which it is accessed. The second approach is broader. It involves the removal of impediments that hinder access to information, such as lack of chemical expertise within small to medium size enterprises.
Technical Risk Comparison and Assessment – DHM Geothermal Project Basel
A technical comparison and assessment of risk, inclusive of a sociological study, was carried out by RiskCom on a geothermal Hot-Dry-Rock- (HDR) Project in Basel, Switzerland.
The risk analysis encompassed the modelling of damage to infrastructure and associated socio-economic costs related to geothermal activities. A comparison of costs and potential deaths (total project risk) was made with the Swiss authority responsible for the prevention of major accident events and other international guidelines. A further comparison was made between seismic and geothermal risks with other technical risks in Switzerlands. The total risk- related cost prediction for HDR was favourable, which resulted in the resumption of the HDR project.
The results helped identify new potential applications of seismic risk analyses pertaining to effects on people due to inconveniences and the possible loss of amenities. An additional outcome was the suggestion that the implemention of the project within the community should be accompanied by a sociological study. Recommendations were made to the Swiss government with respect to continuing the project under the auspices of Switzerland’s energy policy.