The prudent management of resources is a vital part of any company's operation.

Unconventional gas plays place demands on companies as they require the development of safe operations without the loss of a Social Licence.

The accomplishment of a social licence to operate requires corporations to go beyond conforming to legislation and embrace society's needs.

International concern has been voiced about the mature unconventional shale gas exploration and exploitation in North America. This has occurred because of society's lack of understanding of fracking, their perception of the risk and Corporation's lack of engagement.

The oil industry worldwide follows the standards laid down by the American Petroleum Institute (API). These standards have served the oil industry well. However, fulfilment of these standards has not always been achieved by all operators.

Established technology of fracking introduces a sequencing of high pressure cycles into casing and cementing systems in both vertical and horizontal wells. In shale fracking a well is deviated from the vertical to the horizontal. In doing so, will joints in the casing hold under all circumstances; is cement evenly placed between the steel casings and within geological formation? The risk experience in drilling operations is one concern, others include, financial, health, safety and the environment risk is gauged by stakeholders.

The possibility of a methane flow into the aquifer opens the potential of environmental impact on fresh water resources. Methane without adequate capture in populated areas increases the risk to human and animal health. Society has reacted to past failure of mining operations or extractive industries by enacting laws to encourage companies to adopt safer methods of operation.

Consequent on the USA experience, more than nineteen States and Countries have legislated to reverse the burden of proof of liability by enacting a series of bills that form the basis of a ‘Rebuttable Presumption of Liability’.

Corporations must not fail to control operations. They must identify the potential of damage to the environment and human health. Failure to mitigate risks will result in loss of competitiveness, damage to reputation, legal liability arising from failure to abide by regulations and/or private litigation.

The maintenance of a social licence to operate underpins corporate success.

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