OGP reiterates commitment to safe and environmentally responsible gas from shale development in Europe
The International Association of Oil & Gas Producers (OGP) welcomes the European Parliament’s (EP) approval of two gas from shale reports from the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) Committee and the Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) Committee.
The full European Parliamentary vote today recognises the important potential role of gas from shale in Europe and indicates, once again, that there is no need for an EU-wide moratorium on gas from shale development. The assessment today reflects the view already provided earlier this year by the European Commission.
“We believe the European Parliament’s vote sends an important signal about the development prospects for gas from shale in Europe and about this resource’s potential to improve European energy supply security, decrease Europe’s greenhouse gas emissions and increase European economic competitiveness,” said Michael Engell-Jensen, OGP’s Executive Director.
The multi-dimensional benefits of gas from shale are having far-reaching effects in the United States in terms of reviving manufacturing, stimulating economic activity by lowering energy costs and helping the US to reduce substantially its carbon emissions.
Gas from shale can also provide the steady and reliable power generation that is essential to back up the inevitably sporadic energy supplies that come from wind and solar-generated electricity.
“The benefits seen in the US could potentially be realised in Europe through environmentally responsible development of gas from shale,” Engell-Jensen said.
The exploration and production of natural gas in Europe – including gas from shale – is one of the most highly regulated processes in the world. It is governed by fourteen different pieces of EU legislation in additional to national and local regulations. “Industry fully recognises that the effective implementation of existing regulations by Member States is an important factor in reducing risk in all gas operations,” Engell-Jensen said.
One of the essential technologies used for gas from shale development, hydraulic fracturing, is thoroughly tested and straightforward. It has been used worldwide, including in over two million wells globally since the 1940s. Over this time, new processes and technological developments have allowed industry to substantially reduce potential surface and sub-surface impacts. Horizontal drilling techniques allow for fewer well locations and a smaller land footprint, with multiple wells drilled from a single location and each well reaching a larger portion of the target resource.
Although there is some time before full development of gas from shale in Europe could take place, industry is already engaging with stakeholders at both the EU and national levels to find the right long-term solutions.