New Ohio State center will focus on shale energy

COLUMBUS — In response to the growing need for education and research related to Ohio’s developing shale energy industry, The Ohio State University is creating the Ohio State Subsurface Energy Resource Center.

The center, with faculty experts in the areas of economics, law and policy; earth science; engineering; energy and environmental science; extension and community development; and public health, will conduct research and serve as a resource to subsurface energy stakeholders.

The center was established in response to recent technical advances that are leading to the expansion of horizontal drilling for hydrocarbon-bearing shale and other resources across Ohio.

University officials say the center will ensure that Ohio State is a key participant in forums and decision-making groups on energy and environmental issues related to subsurface development.

The new center’s leadership will come from Ron Sega, vice president and enterprise executive for energy and the environment.

“Ohio has an important opportunity to examine and research the potential for shale energy within our state and region,” said Sega.

The center will be led by co-directors Jeffrey Daniels, professor in the School of Earth Sciences, and Douglas Southgate, professor in Agricultural, Environmental and Development Economics.

Daniels is a geophysicist with extensive exploration experience utilizing seismic, petrophysical measurements and borehole geophysics, and currently works to characterize reservoir and cap rock (shale) in Ohio for CO2 sequestration potential. Southgate is an economist who specializes in natural resource development.

The existing Shale Energy Education Work Group formed by Ohio State Extension will continue its current operation and serve as the primary entity to coordinate public outreach and education. Ohio State Extension educators have conducted 39 shale energy related education programs to date, reaching 4,318 participants throughout Ohio.

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