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A social, environmental and economic evaluation protocol for potential gas hydrate exploitation projects

A social, environmental and economic evaluation protocol for potential gas hydrate exploitation projects
A social, environmental and economic evaluation protocol for potential gas hydrate exploitation projects
There is increasing global interest in the potential commercial development of methane gas hydrate as a widespread and abundant unconventional source of natural gas. Previous work has focussed on understanding the nature and distribution of the resource, and potential recovery technology, neglecting assessment of the associated social, economic and environmental consequences. This gap needs to be addressed for any commercial gas hydrate development business case to succeed. Here we develop a multi-criteria decision analysis (MCDA) protocol of gas hydrate development using the ELECTRE III method. Our protocol proposes criteria that evaluate the social, environmental and economic impacts of gas hydrate development proposals, which are weighted to represent the priorities of six identified stakeholder groups. We have tested the protocol on potential commercial gas hydrate development in Alaska through a series of interviews. Our results show that there is no universal preference structure, even within stakeholder groups, indicating that buy-in from all groups is a complex compromise. However, there are two fundamentally opposing groups, one composed of individuals from governmental and industry backgrounds who prioritise economic criteria, and another represented by members of the local community and environmental advocates who prioritise social and environmental criteria. The protocol concludes that gas hydrate development in Alaska is unlikely to be supported under present-day conditions. This work provides the first structured foundation for comprehensive assessment of future development proposals of gas hydrate or other natural resources.
0306-2619
114651
Riley, David Christopher
f9649d09-cf4f-4b21-9ada-07d08294dad5
Schaafsma, Marije
937ac629-0fa2-4a11-bdf7-c3688405467d
Marin-Moreno, Héctor
07badfc4-31cf-4129-8e78-d315f4894650
Minshull, Timothy
bf413fb5-849e-4389-acd7-0cb0d644e6b8
Riley, David Christopher
f9649d09-cf4f-4b21-9ada-07d08294dad5
Schaafsma, Marije
937ac629-0fa2-4a11-bdf7-c3688405467d
Marin-Moreno, Héctor
07badfc4-31cf-4129-8e78-d315f4894650
Minshull, Timothy
bf413fb5-849e-4389-acd7-0cb0d644e6b8

Riley, David Christopher, Schaafsma, Marije, Marin-Moreno, Héctor and Minshull, Timothy (2020) A social, environmental and economic evaluation protocol for potential gas hydrate exploitation projects. Applied Energy, 263, 114651. (doi:10.1016/j.apenergy.2020.114651).

Record type: Article

Abstract

There is increasing global interest in the potential commercial development of methane gas hydrate as a widespread and abundant unconventional source of natural gas. Previous work has focussed on understanding the nature and distribution of the resource, and potential recovery technology, neglecting assessment of the associated social, economic and environmental consequences. This gap needs to be addressed for any commercial gas hydrate development business case to succeed. Here we develop a multi-criteria decision analysis (MCDA) protocol of gas hydrate development using the ELECTRE III method. Our protocol proposes criteria that evaluate the social, environmental and economic impacts of gas hydrate development proposals, which are weighted to represent the priorities of six identified stakeholder groups. We have tested the protocol on potential commercial gas hydrate development in Alaska through a series of interviews. Our results show that there is no universal preference structure, even within stakeholder groups, indicating that buy-in from all groups is a complex compromise. However, there are two fundamentally opposing groups, one composed of individuals from governmental and industry backgrounds who prioritise economic criteria, and another represented by members of the local community and environmental advocates who prioritise social and environmental criteria. The protocol concludes that gas hydrate development in Alaska is unlikely to be supported under present-day conditions. This work provides the first structured foundation for comprehensive assessment of future development proposals of gas hydrate or other natural resources.

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Protocol_paper - Accepted Manuscript
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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 10 February 2020
e-pub ahead of print date: 10 February 2020
Published date: 1 April 2020

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 438980
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/438980
ISSN: 0306-2619
PURE UUID: 96e8c59c-c023-454e-87a8-ef91af913eed
ORCID for David Christopher Riley: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-9829-004X
ORCID for Marije Schaafsma: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-0878-069X
ORCID for Timothy Minshull: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-8202-1379

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Date deposited: 30 Mar 2020 16:32
Last modified: 07 Oct 2020 02:06

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