Memorial Presents: The Facts About Fracking

Jan 13th, 2014

Harris Centre

Memorial Presents: The Facts About Fracking

The Facts About Fracking: An Engineering Perspective

"Memorial Presents" Public Forum

Thursday, January 30, 2014, 7:00pm NST

LC-301, Grenfell Campus
Memorial University of Newfoundland, Corner Brook, NL

Please note change of room number to LC-301



Despite the dangers posed by global warming, humanity’s demand for fossil energy keeps growing. In both the developed and developing worlds, the demand keeps growing for fuel used in transportation, heating and cooling, cooking, manufacturing and other needs. Newly-discovered shale oil and shale gas deposits are lessening the developed world’s dependence on petroleum from volatile geopolitical regions.

The technology of releasing oil and gas from shale deposits is known as hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking”. While the economic benefits of fracking are well known, there exists much controversy over its social and environmental costs. Fracking has been blamed for poisoning the groundwater, polluting the surface water and the air around wells, siphoning scarce drinking water during the drilling process, and even causing earthquakes.

What are the facts about fracking? How does it work and what are the impacts on the earth’s crust and on groundwater? What are the risks to surface water and the ambient air? Are the risks different between shale oil and shale gas? Are there mitigating factors that might make fracking safer for humans and the environment? What is the role of government in regulating fracking?

These questions and more will be addressed at a public forum featuring expert guest speakers.


Dr. Maurice Dusseault, professor of earth and environmental sciences at the University of Waterloo. Maurice started teaching in Alberta in 1977 and came to Waterloo in 1982 as Professor of Geological Engineering, teaching rock mechanics, fossil fuel production methods, and related areas. He carries out research in geomechanics, oil production, and deep waste disposal. Current interests include sequestration, hydraulic fracturing, leaky wellbores, and THMC coupling issues. He publishes widely (500 full text articles) and works with industry as a professional instructor. Maurice serves on the Scientific Advisory Council of the New Brunswick Energy Institute, as science advisor to the Government of Alberta, and on the Shale Gas Environmental Impacts Panel of the Council of Canadian Academies.

Dr. Lesley Anne James, Chevron Chair in Petroleum Engineering at Memorial University's Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science. Dr. James has completed a bachelor of applied science in chemical engineering and a diploma in technology management and entrepreneurship (1997) from the University of New Brunswick and a master's (2003) and PhD (2009) in chemical engineering from the University of Waterloo. Between degrees, Dr. James worked as a management consultant with Accenture for more than four years with work assignments in Canada, the United States and Europe.

Dr. James's research interests focus on sustainable oil production by increasing oil recovery rates through enhanced oil recovery (EOR). Currently, her focus is on maximizing recovery from offshore Newfoundland and Labrador oil and gas fields through understanding the fluid-fluid and rock-fluid interactions and particularly examining miscible/near-miscible fluid injection and optimal EOR strategies for offshore production. Dr. James is in the process of helping develop a world-class enhanced oil recovery laboratory at Memorial, which will allow for fundamental and applied research and development in the area of enhanced and improved oil recovery. Dr. James is a major advocate of programs encouraging women to become more involved in engineering and the sciences. She also regularly promotes science and engineering through speaking engagements, giving tours on campus, and mentoring.

Free admission, free parking

A reception will follow

This forum will be webcast live




230 Elizabeth Ave, St. John's, NL, CANADA, A1B 3X9

Postal Address: P.O. Box 4200, St. John's, NL, CANADA, A1C 5S7

Tel: (709) 864-8000