The Arkansas Public Policy Panel (APPP) released a report last week outlining what it perceives are the potential risks over natural gas development in the Fayetteville Shale play, and listing recommendations to minimize those risks.

The report, "Arkansas in the Balance: Managing the Risks of Shale Gas Development in the Natural State," was written by Debbie Doss, a long-time conservationist and chair of the Arkansas Conservation Coalition. It illustrates the life cycle of a typical gas well.

"The [gas shale] industry is moving in so fast that no one has had time to really think about what the impacts could be and to prepare a reasonable way of managing those risks," Doss said. "We are hearing from landowners across the region that they are deeply concerned about what's happening. This report provides well researched and credible information to them."

The Fayetteville Shale play stretches across north and central Arkansas. Production from the play continues to ramp up, according to data from the Arkansas Oil and Gas Commission. Production has climbed from less that 0.24 Bcf/d during 1Q2007 to approximately 2.25 Bcf/d during 3Q2010.

The report recommends passing a landowners bill of rights, compelling gas companies to disclose the content of chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing, stepping up drill inspections and enacting legislation covering noise, air and water quality.

"We are for responsible development of the Fayetteville Shale gas reserves," APPP Executive Director Bill Kopsky said. "There is a way for the industry to develop this resource right, but the evidence is that they are falling short and jeopardizing our future. Our report summarizes threats to individual property rights as well as clean water, clean air and good health. We conclude with recommendations that would balance the competing interests of gas development."