New European Commission proposals on shale gas are a step in the right direction, but the inclusion of a double, binding target in the 2030 climate and energy policy raises some concerns.
The International Association of Oil & Gas Producers (OGP) is encouraged by the fact that the Communication and the Recommendation on shale gas recognise that an array of binding legislation – in the European Union and in member countries – already applies to shale operations. The documents identify many risks – which the industry has already been managing over its decades-long experience of hydraulic fracturing – but also acknowledges the economic benefits that shale gas development could bring to Europe.
However, the implementation of the Communication and the Recommendation should take into account the operational reality of shale gas operations. Exploratory wells will be necessary to assess many of the very parameters mentioned in the Recommendation. Before exploration, limited data are available on the geology of the rocks, the volume of gas present and the amount of water needed.
“Supporting the exploration of natural gas from shale is ever more topical on the day the EU Commission releases its long-term climate and energy policy,” said Roland Festor, OGP’s EU Affairs Director. “Gas is the best resource Europe has – reliable and immediately available – to help meet EU emission reduction targets quickly and at a competitive cost versus alternatives,” he explained.
“Shale gas can be developed in Europe respecting the environment within the current legislation,” Mr. Festor added. “This is a real opportunity: recent research showed that domestic EU development could create as many as 1.1 million jobs by 2050, while reducing the region’s dependence on energy imports and relatively lowering prices,” he said.
OGP is however concerned by the proposal of adopting two binding targets as part of the EU 2030 climate and energy policy. A single, clear greenhouse gas emissions reduction target is the best way to limit Europe’s impact on climate change in a cost-effective and market-efficient way.
Adapted from a press release by David Bizley
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