Jane Barrow, CEO of Caprica Energy, must recommend to the board which of three potential “unconventional” natural-gas development sites in different parts of the United States the company should pursue. The case takes place in January 2011, when the “low-hanging fruit” of natural-gas production in the United States had essentially been picked. All three of the potential sites (shale, coalbed methane, and tight sands) would require hydraulic fracturing, a process of removing gas that was formerly considered inaccessible by injecting water and chemicals into the ground. Because of emerging concerns about the potential harm “fracking” can do to drinking water, Barrow must not only analyze which site might be most profitable but also what the potential risks to the environment and area residents might be.
Darden Business Publishing – University of Virginia