Central and Eastern European Shale Gas Outlook (2012) Peter Kiss & Steve Butler (authors) KPMG
Despite their best spin, this damning report should not only alarm investors, but should alert British and other European citizens to the inherent dangers, clearly well-known to the industry, of FRACKING in Europe. This report confirms that whatever the Americans are suffering, we in Europe will suffer more. One area that is completely overlooked in the report is the impact FRACKING will have on property values, sale-ability and insurance disclaimers.
“chemicals used in the hydraulic fracturing may migrate into drinking water sources, posing a threat to human health and the environment.” (pg 15)
Unlike North America,
“This concept [of concentrated mining developments, known as “sweet spots” or “hogs”] might encounter difficulties in Europe, which is more densely populated, as such developments would bring drilling rigs closer to inhabited areas.” (pg 22)
While governments may try to convince us that FRACKING can be made safe through regulation and using advanced technology and equipment, the fact is,
“As the geological setting varies significantly by shale formation, the technology known to work effectively in one formation might be ineffective in the case of others.” (pg 18)
There seems to be something wrong with the maths too.
“Preliminary studies suggest that there are 456Tcm of shale gas [worldwide], of which 40% is estimated to be economically recoverable… Europe, however, accounts for… 7% of global shale reserves.” (pg 22)
But in a another report, just one year later, this has been drastically inflated to
“…as much as 40Tcm of shale gas in the north of England alone, making it the biggest shale basin in the world.” (Shale Development: Global Update; pg 24)
Equally, in an EIA report from 2011, Britain was assessed as having less than 100Tcft (Trillion cubic feet), whereas both France and Poland have more (100-200Tcft) and the Russian enclave (sandwiched between Poland and Lithuania) has even more (200-300Tcft), (Shale Gas- A Global Perspective; pg 12). How did the north of England suddenly become “the biggest shale basin in the world”?
Was the British Geological Survey under pressure from The Dept. of Energy and Climate Change to produce propaganda supporting the government’s drive to force FRACKING on the UK?
There is a glimmer of hope though. As can be seen from the example in Bulgaria, public opposition can halt this irreversible destruction of land, water and air:
“…shale gas exploration has been indefinitely banned in Bulgaria because of bitter public opposition to hydraulic fracturing practices…” (pg 30)
Here are a few extracts:
“The costs and financing associated with shale gas are influenced by a number of factors that prevent the North American experience from being easily replicable in Europe. Aside from the differences in the physical characteristics of rock, depth ranges, and water availability, these costs are governed by particular market forces, such as the availability of specialists, necessary equipment used for exploration and extraction measures, and existing infrastructure.
Due to the higher costs and risks of E&P [Exploration and Production[?]] in Europe, more joint venture activity is likely, and locally tailored methods of financing will continue to be necessary to support CEE [Central & Eastern European] exploration projects.” (pg 35)
Environmental concerns regarding shale gas extraction are one of the main questions facing the industry today, and they remain a strong obstacle for the expansion of the global shale gas business. The most salient issues in both the US and in Europe are similar, including concerns with ground water contamination, usage of scarce fresh water resources, the possibility of greenhouse gases escaping to the atmosphere, and potential provocation of seismic activity in regions where hydraulic fracturing is used. Political factors influencing governmental decisions on shale gas in various countries should also not be disregarded.
Some studies indicate that the drilling and fracturing of a single well in the US requires up to 17 million litres of fresh water. Given the nature of deeper shales and the higher geothermal gradient in Europe, the amount of water to be used is expected to be even greater. At the same time, the water which returns to surface after the fracturing process contains salt (depending on the shale salinity) and potentially, depending on the location, radioactive elements as well. Water management and the effective disposal of fracturing fluids are crucial issues to be addressed.
In addition to water resource management, a major public concern is the risk of groundwater contamination. As wells are drilled and the shale fractured, the water pumped into the opening is mixed with a number of chemical additives, some of which are toxic and can be quite harmful to health and the environment. Because companies are required to disclose chemicals used at differing times and degrees, depending on local regulations, the exact amount of potentially dangerous chemicals in hydraulic fracturing areas can be difficult to determine.” (pg 27)
“Public acceptance of shale gas development
Public awareness of shale gas has gained momentum in recent years, particularly with regard to hydraulic fracturing and its highly publicized potential dangers. Environmental groups and civil opposition to shale gas have raised a number of concerns, while scientific study in support of hydraulic fracturing has been viewed with scepticism.
Social concern with shale gas drilling has encouraged governments to invest more efforts in scientific research, and European countries in particular have been keeping a close eye on public opinion, while endorsing the acceptance of new energy sources as possible solutions regarding energy security and greater independence from gas imports.
In light of this, some European countries have already developed strong stances on shale gas, giving rise to a palpable split between some EU countries. Whereas shale gas exploration has been indefinitely banned in Bulgaria because of bitter public opposition to hydraulic fracturing practices, Poland’s population is largely in support of shale gas because of its economic advantages and the energy independence it would bring.” (pg 30)
The recovery of shale gas uses hydraulic fracturing, which requires millions of gallons of [fresh] water and presents a challenge in water-deficient areas, or in regions where the price of water resources is relatively high. Moreover, water contamination resulting from the improper disposal of fluids is a concern, especially with regard to fears that chemicals used in the hydraulic fracturing may migrate into drinking water sources, posing a threat to human health and the environment.” (pg15)
The full report is in three parts and can be read here:
Central and Eastern European Shale Gas Outlook (2012) Part 1
Central and Eastern European Shale Gas Outlook (2012) Part 2
Central and Eastern European Shale Gas Outlook (2012) Part 3
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