Unconventional Gas and the Environment: Compatible ?
As part of the Ifri Energy Breakfast Roundtable, a seminar Philippe Marcus, Deputy Vice President, GDF Suez E&P, Dr Simon Mathias, Lecturer of Geoscience in the Department of Earth Sciences, Durham University (UK) et Dr Isabelle Moretti, Project Leader Unconventional Gas, IFP New Energy (ex Institut français du Pétrole). Chaired by William C. Ramsay, Senior Fellow and Director of the Ifri Energy Program and Jacques Lesourne, Chairman of the scientific Committee of the Ifri Energy Program.
The breakthrough in gas exploration technologies that occurred in the US a few years ago, has created a revolution in World Gas markets. Spot and wholesale prices have crashed, and so have plans for LNG imports to the US. Europe would also love to be part of this new rush for blue gold, and companies are developing exploration projects in Poland, Sweden, Germany and France. Geopolitically this incremental gas could well reduce anxiety, particularly in Europe over security of supply. Yet development prospects and timing for Europe are not only linked to reserves and wholesale prices, but also to technical and political feasibility. And, this is where environment comes in.
There are still-unanswered environmental questions associated with the development of unconventional gas: it requires a huge amount of water and chemicals to release the gas from shale which has raised questions about the safety of ground water and aquifers. Considerable work is ongoing in the US on environment questions which can inform European policy makers who will confront the same questions.
This conference will provide insights into exploration technologies, environmental consequences and Europe's specific legislative context.