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Rising Sophomore from Ukraine Examines Environmental Implications of Shale Exploration

June 10, 2011

98388June 10, 2011, Greencastle, Ind. — Oksana Polhuy, who will be a sophomore at DePauw University in the fall, contributes a column to the Kyiv Post, Ukraine's leading English-language newspaper. Polhuy lives in Chernihiv, a city in northern Ukraine.

"With the price of Russian natural gas set to skyrocket from around $300 per 1,000 cubic meters to $400 or more by the end of this year, the need to explore Ukraine’s shale gas resources with the help of foreign companies is becoming more and more urgent," she writes. "Ukraine, according to different estimates, has two to 30 trillion cubic meters of shale gas -- a type of natural gas trapped in rocks beneath the earth’s surface. If Ukraine did have 30 trillion cubic meters of the shale gas, it would be enough to satisfy the demand for gas in Ukraine for 600 years. International oil and gas majors Chevron, Shell, Exxon Mobil and TNK-BP have shown interest in exploring shale gas in western Ukraine and coal bed methane in Donetsk Oblast using hydraulic fracturing -- or hydrofracking -- a controversial technology that has helped the U.S. become a world leader. However, the technology raises serious environmental concerns, including pollution of water sources, such as rivers and underground aquifers."98292

Polhuy states that it is imperative that Ukrainian officials learn "from the U.S. experience with hydrofracking and (pass) certain regulations to prevent environmental problems."

The newspaper notes, "Polhuy is researching the consequences of hydrofracking at DePauw University in Indiana." Polhuy conducted her research as a member of the DePauw Environmental Policy Project (DEPP), a student-led group that has helped to guide environmental legislation in Indiana.

Read the complete column at the Post's website.

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