Cuadrilla Resources bored its first shale gas well in the UK last year, Chevron is planning its first well inPoland later this year, while ExxonMobil recently finished drilling its sixth well in north-west Germany.
Major obstacles still exist concedes Karabula. "Polish Oil and Gas Company will need to crack the mindsof Polish citizens," he told the conference, an acknowledgement of the considerable opposition fromcivil society and environmental groups towards the energy source.Fears have been nourished by reports that shale extraction in the US has led to water contamination,exploding rigs and gas seeping out household water taps - portrayed in the Oscar-nominateddocumentary 'Gasland'.Such concerns led New York authorities to place a temporary moratorium on the drilling of new shalegas wells, with France doing likewise until greater information is known."While all environmentalists agree on the need to move away from coal, I don't think you will find muchenthusiasm for shale gas," Jesse Scott of EG3, an NGO which campaigns for sustainable development,told the conference.Many doubts relate to the negative side-effects of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, the process of pumping millions of litres of water, mixed with sand and chemicals, down the bore hole in order tosmash the shale rock and collect the released gas.The toxicity of fracking chemicals and how they are disposed of once used, as well as the large volumesof water needed, have all raised question marks. Others suggest fracking alters a locality's water table,with important knock-on effects for wildlife and humans.A new study by the European Centre for Energy and Resource Security (Eucers) last week said"unconventional gas resources might be able to cover European gas demand for at least another 60years", but added that region's high population density could pose problems.Shale gas drilling requires many more wells to be sunk than convention gas drilling.The same report added that current EU environmental legislation is "not adequate" for ensuringenvironmentally friendly exploration and production of shale gas.
Fighting climate change
Industry has been quick to point to the lower emissions produced when burning gas compared to coal,hailing shale as the new green energy of the future.An unpublished economic analysis commissioned by the European Gas Advocacy Forum (EGAF), andleaked to the Guardian newspaper, said Europe could save about €900 billion by 2050 if it met itsemissions targets through investment in gas rather than renewables.The paper's conclusions have since met with several strong challenges however, including from theEuropean Climate Foundation (ECF), the green think-tank whose 'open source' data was used in theanalysis.On top of this, a peer-viewed paper by Robert Howarth, a professor of ecology and environmentalbiology at Cornell University in the US, last month suggested methane leakage into the earth'satmosphere during shale gas extraction made the energy source actually dirtier than coal.
Schaliegas als mogelijke nieuwe energiebron (en) - Europa Nuhttp://www.europa-nu.nl/id/vip6mtxiuhzt/nieuws/schaliegas_al...2 of 324/05/11 14:50