Shale oil and gas The promise and the peril, revised and updated second edition

By Vikram Rao

In the first edition, Shale Gas: The Promise and the Peril, Vikram Rao explained that shale gas has the potential to transform the U.S. energy-based economy in the electricity, transportation, and chemical sectors. Since then, shale oil burst into the national consciousness even more rapidly than did shale gas. In the second edition, Rao does more justice to the shale oil–related issues, including the consequences of unpreparedness of infrastructure to deliver fluids to market. Six new chapters discuss issues such as chemicals disclosure and challenges to the orthodoxy in the production of fuels and chemicals. Both the first and second editions are intended to inform both sides of the fracturing debate, where currently rhetoric is overtaking understanding. Tailored for a nontechnical audience—with technical chemistry and geology information couched in sidebars—the second edition culminates in suggestions for research and guidance for policy making.


Rao, V. (2015). Shale oil and gas: The promise and the peril, revised and updated second edition. (RTI Press Publication No. BK-0012-1508). Research Triangle Park, NC: RTI Press.

© 2019 RTI International. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.


Vikram RaoVikram Rao, PhD, is executive director of the Research Triangle Energy Consortium (RTEC), an energy nonprofit founded by Duke University, North Carolina State University, RTI International, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Rao advises RTI International, venture capital firm Energy Ventures, and firms BioLargo, Inc., Global Energy Talent Ltd., Eastman Chemical Company, Biota Technology, Inc., and Integro Earth Fuels, Inc. He is Chairman of the North Carolina Mining and Energy Commission. He retired as senior vice-president and chief technology officer of Halliburton Company in 2008. As an organization, RTEC views natural gas as a transitional fuel to a future dominated by renewables and recognizes deep divisions within the U.S. regarding the ability to safely produce natural gas domestically. An engineer by training, Rao understands shale gas–related technology and operations. He became familiar with the environmental issues related to shale gas while serving in a pro bono advisory capacity to a major nongovernmental organization. For more information about RTEC and Rao's vision for the future of the energy industry, visit

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