Center formed for independent certification for shale gas producers

A group of energy companies, environmental organizations, and philanthropic foundations collaborated to form a center to provide Appalachian basin shale gas producers with an independent, third-party certification process for shale development, organizers announced at a news conference in Pittsburgh.

The Center for Sustainable Shale Development (CSSD) established 15 initial performance standards during discussions that took 2 years. These standards are the basis for CSSD’s certification process. Companies can begin seeking certification later this year, organizers said. CSSD is expected to focus on the Marcellus and Utica shales, primarily in Pennsylvania and Ohio.

CSSD organizers called the initiative “a model of the regional collaboration” recommended by the Shale Gas Production Subcommittee of the Secretary of Energy Advisory Board (SEAB).

SEAB focused on ways to reduce environmental and safety risks of US shale gas production (OGJ Online, Aug. 11, 2011).

CSSD’s founding participants include Chevron Corp. and Royal Dutch Shell PLC. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) and ICF International provided technical support.

Bruce Niemeyer, Chevron Appalachia president, said the collaborative efforts emphasized achieving consensus on regional performance standards.

“Raising the bar on performance and committing to public, rigorous, and verifiable standards demonstrates our companies’ determination to develop this resource safely and responsibly,” Niemeye said.

Niemeyer is on the CSSD board of directors. Other members are:

• Armond Cohen, executive director, Clean Air Task Force.

• Jared Cohon, president, Carnegie Mellon University.

• Nicholas Deluliis, president, CONSOL Energy.

• Paul Goodfellow, vice-president, US unconventional, Shell.

• Paul King, president, Pennsylvania Environmental Council.

• Fred Krupp, president, Environmental Defense Fund.

• Jane Long, retired from LLNL.

• Paul O’Neill, former US Treasury secretary and former Alcoa chief executive officer.

• David Porges, president and chief executive officer, EQT.

• Robert Vagt, president, Heinz Endowments.

• Christine Todd Whitman, former Environmental Protection Agency administrator and former New Jersey governor.

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