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Shale Gas E-Briefing: Shale Gas Europe: Opening up the debate on shale gas

    • Energy and infrastructure - Shale and unconventional


    Shale Gas Europe: Opening up the debate on shale gas

    Shale Gas Europe marked its official launch with a public discussion in Brussels last week. Over 130 people attended the event ‘Shale Gas in Europe: Public Acceptance and the Role of Industry’. Attendees included industry representatives, European Commission officials, MEPs, NGOs and the general public.

    Presentations were made by Phillip Lowe, Director-General of Energy at the European Commission, Niki Tzavela, MEP, Professor Richard Davies, Durham University, Kristalina Stoykova, Geological Institute Bulgaria and Graeme Smith, Vice President of Unconventional Exploration at Shell.

    The European Commission is currently conducting a comprehensive assessment on unconventional hydrocarbons, including shale gas. Phillip Lowe commented on the European Energy Commissioners’ current thinking that “if shale gas can be safely developed in Europe then Europeans should not look a gift horse in the mouth.” Phillip Lowe concluded that any new European legislation would be unlikely to be in place before the next election of the European Parliament and European Commission in 2014 and 2015.

    Further support for shale gas came from Niki Tzavela (European Parliament Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) Committee rapporteur who released her report on ‘Industrial, energy and other aspects of shale gas and oil’ last year”). She urged the European Commission to be less cautious in its approach and stated that shale gas could provide the solution to declining industry in Europe. She added that as the UK began the industrial revolution it may now be able to spark the energy revolution in Europe.

    Professor Richard Davies, of the Durham Energy Institute, discussed his current research. He explained that the chance of hydraulic fracturing causing water contamination is very low. This is due to the distance between the fracking site and any underground aquifers. His research is based on 20 years of data. He stressed the need to focus attention on real rather than perceived risk.

    Graeme Smith, Shell, closed the discussions. He underlined the environmental and economic benefits shale gas had to offer, calling shale gas a “once in a generation chance.” He highlighted the role that natural gas will play in the energy mix in years to come and stressed that shale gas extraction would only commence once a strong regulatory structure was in place.

    The event allowed for discussions between a wide range of individuals involved in shale gas development in Europe. Such events progress issues and provide for expert input into the debate over an energy source that could prove crucial to Europe’s energy mix.

    Shale Gas Europe, which unites a number of participants in the shale gas value chain, has been established to bring together industry, experts and academics. The aim is to share and communicate the science and technology involved in shale gas exploration, along with the facts around the potential for the responsible development of the EEA’s onshore shale gas reserves. It plans to hold more events like this in the future.

    For further information, please contact:

    Elizabeth Shepherd
    Head of Environment

    Tel: 0845 497 8215
    Intl: +44 161 831 8215

    David Sellers
    Head of Oil and Gas

    Tel: +33 1 55 73 40 00

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