A new book published by RTI International takes on the often contentious debate about “fracking.”

Dr. Vikram Rao, the executive director of the Research Triangle Energy Consortium, examines the debate about the benefits and risks of producing shale gas in “Shale Gas: The Promise and the Peril.”

“For those who are confused about the technical aspects of the current public controversy over unconventional shale gas production, this book is an extremely rare resource of its own — a solidly grounded effort to explain for the lay person both sides of the argument,” says Carl Pope, former executive director and chairman of the Sierra Club, about the book in a notice published by RTI.

.”Rao avoids the egregious pitfalls of the current public conversation which routinely conflates the significant risks involved in any natural gas (or oil) production with the specific and much narrower issues associated with hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) as used in oil and gas production. Rao makes clear that he is an advocate of fossil fuel production—but wants us to do it intelligently, and doesn’t think that current market and regulatory structures will get us there. This is a healthy antidote to the frequently sloppy coverage in the media—now we need someone to provide a similar healthy antidote to the highly charged debate over whether we should really leave the natural gas industry, almost uniquely, to carry out major industrial processes with no federal regulation of core aspects of its operations.”

Rao retired as senior vice-president and chief technology officer of Halliburton Company in 2008 and has more than 30 years of experience in the energy industry. 

RTI says Rao has written a book that “is intended to inform both sides of the fracking debate by highlighting potentially positive and negative outcomes associated with shale gas production, which has the potential to transform the worldwide energy-based economy.”

The Research Triangle Energy Consortium is supported by RTI, N.C. State, Duke and UNC-Chapel Hill.