Skip navigation

Johns Hopkins SAIS, University of Calgary experts available to discuss new model for assessing emissions from shale gas development

Amid the unresolved debate about how much methane escapes from natural gas production systems in North America, Johns Hopkins SAIS and the University of Calgary have collaborated together to develop a new approach to predict emissions.
Flowback gas emissions from hydraulically fractured wells can be estimated with high confidence compared to actual measurements, according to a new article co-authored by Dr. Sarah Marie Jordaan, Assistant Professor of Energy, Resources and Environment at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). The analysis offers insight on the global warming impact of shale gas development and the potential revenue, if the leaked gas is instead captured and sold.
As the use of shale gas becomes more prominent throughout the world, Dr. Jordaan along with University of Calgary Professor Ian Donald Gates and Evar Umeozor, a research assistant at the Canadian Energy Research Institute, have developed a new predictive model that specifically addresses emissions from natural gas production systems that can be broadly applied to other countries and regions.
To better understand the potential benefits of regulating emissions, the scholars first used well-level production datasets for more than 1,600 hydraulically fractured shale gas wells to model pre-production emissions across major shale gas basins in the United States and Canada. The estimated flowback emissions were then validated using existing measurement data. 
The analyses suggest economic benefits, if the escaping greenhouse gas is instead captured and sold. The foresight of these estimates suggest it is economical for governments, agencies, and environmental organizations to implement green completions in most cases.
Dr. Jordaan and Dr. Gates are available to further discuss:

  • What are the advantages of the proposed approach compared to existing models?
  • How do low and high natural gas prices change the results?
  • How does the analysis contribute to the debate between the value of top-down atmospheric emissions and bottom-up emissions estimates at the scale of devices and infrastructure?
  • How might the approach be expanded beyond flowback emissions?

Jordaan has worked on the environmental and economic implications of energy systems for over a decade in numerous positions, with contributions aimed at improving science, technology, and policy. Prior to joining Johns Hopkins SAIS, she was an Assistant Professor of Energy Policy and Politics at the University of Calgary. Jordaan managed a year-long project on the environmental and economic implications of shale gas development at the Electric Power Research Institute. She has also held a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard University, as well as positions at Shell Canada and the Laboratory on International Law and Regulation at the University of California, San Diego. Jordaan earned her doctorate in Environmental Design from the University of Calgary and a Bachelor’s degree in Physics and Computer Science from Memorial University.
Gates joined the Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering at the University of Calgary in 2004 after working seven years in the industry. He is a registered professional engineer (P.Eng.) in the Province of Alberta and has been a consultant for several energy companies both in Canada and internationally. His current research interests are in heavy oil and oil sands recovery process design and optimization, thermal and thermal-solvent oil recovery processes, cold production of heavy oil with sand and follow-up process design, reservoir engineering and simulation, reservoir process optimization, reactive reservoir processes and simulation, heat and mass transfer, fluid mechanics, biofilm evolution in porous media, and bioreactor design.
Read more: On methane emissions from shale gas development
Media Contacts
Stacy A. Anderson
Communications Manager
Johns Hopkins SAIS
202.663.5620 office
202.853.7983 mobile
[email protected]
Michael Platt
Media Relations & Communications
Schulich School of Engineering
University of Calgary
403-210-6719 office
403-830-2452 mobile
[email protected]
About Johns Hopkins SAIS
A division of Johns Hopkins University, the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) is a global institution that offers students an international perspective on today's critical issues. For nearly 75 years, Johns Hopkins SAIS has produced great leaders, thinkers, and practitioners of international relations. Public leaders and private sector executives alike seek the counsel of the faculty, whose ideas and research inform and shape policy. Johns Hopkins SAIS offers a global perspective across three campus locations: Bologna, Italy; Nanjing, China; and Washington, D.C. The school’s interdisciplinary curriculum is strongly rooted in the study of international economics, international relations, and regional studies, preparing students to address multifaceted challenges in the world today.
For more information, visit or @SAISHopkins

Tuesday, April 17, 2018