September 2012: The Commission has released three studies on shale gas, as part of its information gathering process and as background for decisions on possible next steps (Press Release).
- Potential risks for the environment and human health arising from shale gas extraction in Europe
The study on environmental impacts shows that extracting shale gas generally imposes a larger environmental footprint than conventional gas development. Risks of surface and ground water contamination, water resource depletion, air and noise emissions, land take, disturbance to biodiversity and impacts related to traffic are deemed to be high in the case of multiple projects. A considerable number of questions relating to legislation and regulation have been identified, implying the need for an appropriate framework to ensure an environmentally acceptable shale gas extraction in Europe (Please note that the study was re-issued on 11 February 2013 with minor corrections in the preliminary risk screening).
- Climate Impact of Potential Shale Gas Production in the EU
The study on climate impacts shows that shale gas produced in the EU causes more GHG emissions than conventional natural gas produced in the EU, but - if well managed - less than imported gas from outside the EU, be it via pipeline or by LNG due to the impacts on emissions from long-distance gas transport.
- Unconventional Gas: Potential Energy Market Impacts in the European Union
The study on energy market impacts shows that unconventional gas developments in the US have led to greater Liquefied Natural Gas supplies becoming available at global level, indirectly influencing EU gas prices.