Impacts of shale gas and shale oil extraction on the environment and on human health

Published 2011 / 06
Summary Report analyzing the policy gaps, potential of and external effects of shale and tight gas and oil extraction in Europe. The report concludes that there are significant external effects to unconventional oil in gas in the large land use required in extracting it and in all the environmental hazards of air, water and ground, especially in case of accidents. Additionally, because of fugetive emissions of methane during the extraction, unconventional gas at best has the CO2 footprint of natural gas transported over a long distance and at worst that of hard coal in its entire life cycle from extraction to combustion. The report identifies 9 policy areas where the EU is lacking clear legislation and frameworks for unconventional gas. These are mostly in the areas of mining laws, openness and legislation on chemical use, waste water treatment legislation, water management and participation opportunities for civilians in regional decision making. Furthermore, the stores of unconventional gas and oil are unlikely to fill the gap between demand and supply of natural gas in Europe of about 100 billion m3 per year in 2035. The question raised in the report is whether developing unconventional gas won't give an adverse signal to consumers that long term natural gas reserves are guaranteed, while they are not, thus negatively affecting the drive for energy savings, fuel efficiency and substitution.
Keywords shale, tight, gas, oil, unconventional, Europe, policy, mining, environmental impact
File name EU Parliament_201106_Impacts of shale gas and shale oil extraction on the environment and on human health.pdf