SD college launches Shale Research Institute

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RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) - The South Dakota School of Mines & Technology is launching a Shale Research Institute with the help of Rapid City-based engineering consultant RESPEC.

The state Legislature earlier this year approved nearly half a million dollars to support the effort. The School of Mines said work will focus on a range of experiments related to energy production - shale formations hold oil - and the environment. Officials also will be assessing the feasibility of what would be the nation’s first underground shale research laboratory.

“The School of Mines has expertise in underground engineering and geology as well as energy and the environment,” President Heather Wilson said in a statement. “South Dakota is making a major investment in shale research. Working with RESPEC as our industrial partner, we will work to expand the research we are doing in this field for both government and private sector sponsors.”

RESPECT was founded in 1969 by School of Mines faculty members. The company employs more than 200 people and specializes in mining and energy, water and natural resources, and information technologies. The company and the college plan to seek federal dollars to further the institute’s efforts.

The School of Mines in Rapid City is equidistant from the Bakken, Mowry and Niobrara shale formations in the Upper Midwest.

“South Dakota is uniquely positioned to advance research in this area that is very important to the energy industry and the nation,” said Rep. David Lust, R-Rapid City.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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