Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Europe's Geological Surveys Make Joint Statement on Shale Gas

After a meeting in Copenhagen, the North Atlantic Group of the European Geological Surveys released a statement on shale gas and fracking. More info is available here.

This group is made up of the Geological Surveys of the UK, Germany, Ireland, Holland, Norway, Iceland and Denmark, so it represents most of Europe's geological expertise. Make no mistake, these guys are experts.

Below are a choice selection of quotes both from their Copenhagen statement, as well as comments from the President of Germany's Federal Institute for Geosciences (the BGR) in a press release. The press release is in German, so I have used google to translate as best I can. Apologies to any German speakers who spot any mis-translations, but the general gist of the statements should be clear to all.

Firstly from the Copenhagen Statement:

"The Survey Directors are concerned that frequent misleading media messages regarding exploration and exploitation of raw materials and geo-energy have the potential to obscure scientific results and conclusions, and may ultimately lead to poor decisions for Society."
"The Survey Directors emphasise that their Surveys hold the majority of key sub-surface data for their Nations. They are thus best placed to objectively and independently inform decision makers, on shale and other georesource estimation exercises, and on some of the potential environmental risks of the operations."

"Particular concern was expressed that the role of the national Geological Survey may be bypassed, resulting in the submission of poorly formulated geoscientific advice to governments."
The press release from the BGR was even more explicit:
"The European Geological Surveys of the North Atlantic area, which include the Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR), fear in the face of misleading reports in the media about the exploration and extraction of raw materials negative socio-political consequences."
"Often dangers are evoked where there are none. When fracking for production of natural gas there are widespread fears in the population, most of which are unfounded from geoscientific perspective."
"Since the early 1960s, more than 320 fracking measures in conventional natural gas production have been carried out in Lower Saxony. The technique used here is similar to the method for the development of shale gas resources. In these past operations by fracking there has not been a single incident in which the environment has been damaged. When critics speak in connection with fracking as an uncontrollable high-risk technology, this is just wrong under scientific criteria." (my emphasis)
I think these comments will be worth remembering as the shale gas debate rumbles on over the coming months.

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