Economics of Unconventional Shale Gas Development: Case Studies and Impacts, edited by WILLIAM E. HEFLEY and YONGSHENG WANG. (Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015). 294 pages. ISBN 978-3-319-11498-9
Policymakers maintain that the dramatic transformation in the U.S. shale industry ranks as the most significant energy innovation so far this century. Indeed, the economics and related impacts of unconventional shale gas development have the potential to cause a paradigm shift in the fueling of North America's energy future. Increased drilling in the Marcellus and Utica shales in the Mid-Atlantic region and promising oil and gas plays in the Niobrara shale formation have made the U.S. a net producer of natural gas and contributed to local economic gains.
This important book is the first volume to focus solely on the economics and related financial impacts of unconventional shale gas development in the United States. The editors are William E. Hefley at the University of Pittsburgh and Yongsheng Wang, at Washington and Jefferson College. While focusing mainly on the Marcellus and Utica Shales in the Mid-Atlantic region, the purpose of the book is to review, synthesize and discuss the development of the U.S. shale energy industry using a wide range of research from multiple levels of analysis, i.e. single wells to entire states and additional insights from other regions, in order to provide a broader view of these issues. It addresses, in particular, the impact of increased exploitation of natural gas reserves on local communities, states, and sectors, and the environmental concerns from an economic perspective. The analyses and proposals put forward by the authors should be considered constructive inputs to fill the research gap on this pressing issue.
The nine contributions to this volume, plus an introductory chapter by the editors, investigate a variety of case studies and engage several related aspects of technological advances in horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing (or "fracking"). Collectively, they offer valuable insights into how political discourse, rather than technical or technological advantage drives shale gas development at the state level and the attendant changes in the U.S. energy portfolio.
The volume is organized into four main areas, namely:  case studies (Chapters 1-5);  state-centered impacts (Chapters 6-7);  sectors (Chapter 8); and  the supply chain (Chapter 9). I will follow the same classification, but without necessarily reviewing and commenting on each case study or individual analysis.