Date of Award

Spring 2019

Degree Type


Director of Thesis

Dr. Gwendelyn Geidel

Second Reader

Dr. Michael Murphree


Natural gas, commonly extracted through the hydraulic fracturing of shale basins, has the potential to provide an abundant supply of energy that is more sustainable than other fossil fuels. Due to the complicated and risky nature of the hydraulic fracturing process, only the United States has developed the technology on a large scale. However, in the face of increasing global energy demands and vast supplies worldwide in virtually untapped basins, other countries may want to explore the potential development of this industry. Existing literature on Poland, Mexico, and China are analyzed to assess their similarity to the US in regard to policy, economic, and social qualities, giving an estimate for degree of success. Via weighted comparison to determine expected probability of success, Poland is estimated to perform the best, followed by Mexico and then China. These anticipated results are then compared to data on actual production and emissions levels in the chosen countries, which show that Poland has had the most similar trends. Finally, using method of difference and similarity, the qualities which are truly necessary for successful development of a hydraulic fracturing industry are determined to be economic incentives, private investment, and loose regulation.

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