Shale gas is no bonanza for EU, warns Potočnik

Shale gas is no bonanza for EU, warns Potočnik by ENDSEUROPE, 14 May 2013
Exploiting Europe’s shale gas reserves will help ease gas prices but it will not make the region self-sufficient, EU environment commissioner Janez Potočnik told the fifth European Economic Congress in Poland on Tuesday. “Even in the most optimistic case, European shale gas development can only compensate for the decline in conventional gas production,” he said. “This would basically help maintaining the current level of EU import dependency to 60%”. Potential reserves in certain member states have turned out to be less significant than early estimates had indicated, Mr Potočnik noted, adding that other factors such as population density also make exploitation more difficult than in the US. Important parts of the legal framework needed to regulate shale gas are already in place, according to him. But safeguards must be adopted to make sure good practices in areas such as preventing fugitive methane emissions are implemented. With many countries now moving quickly to adopt their own rules, the European Commission also aims to provide a coherent EU regulatory framework to give businesses certainty, he continued. Specific guidance will be issued and legal gaps filled following a major assessment due to be released later this year. … In the European Parliament, Italian MEP Andrea Zanoni has proposed mandatory environmental impact assessments for shale gas activities. This is already a requirement in Austria, Denmark and Bulgaria. In Poland, the government is seeking an exemption for certain exploratory shale gas wells. [Emphasis added]

Facts against fracking as EU energy option – Harkin by Westmeath Examiner, May 15, 2013
Marian Harkin MEP with Mary-Jo Mullarkey of the Irish in Europe Association (International), and Geraldine Ring, Fracking Free Ireland Brussels Branch, following the event, Beyond the hype: The economics of shale gas in Europe, at the European Parliament yesterday (May 14). Shale gas would only produce 2-3% of Europe’s future energy needs, a conference in Brussels heard yesterday. MEP Marian Harkin was at the conference in the European Parliament, and she is challenging the notion that shale gas can supply a significant part of Europe’s gas needs. Following Werner Zittel’s argument at the conference that shale gas would only produce between 2-3% of European energy needs, Ms Harkin expressed concern at the lack of a clear strategy by the EU energy commissioner. “Just recently, Commission Oettinger said there was a possibility of shale gas supplying 10-15% of Europe’s energy needs in future, yet yesterday’s figures from the International Energy Agency, quoted by Werner Zittel, put that figure at 2-3%, significantly lower than Commission estimates,” she said. She thinks that difference should have alarm bells ringing across European capitals. The MEP said it would be nonsense for the EU commissioner to start enabling the process of fracking for shale gas if it did not have the potential to make a significant contribution to energy security and help guarantee lower gas prices. “The evidence we heard from two experts (David Hughes and Werner Zittel) strongly challenged the hype surrounding shale gas as a genuine option for Europe’s much-desired energy security,” said Ms Harkin. “It poses serious questions as to why any energy policy mix should include this new and expensive technology if there is not a reasonable return of gas supply. “The EU and its individual member states have to make policy choices based on good evidence, and the analysis we heard today indicates that fracking should not be part of any sustainable energy mix for Europe,” the Ireland North and West MEP concluded. [Emphasis added]

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