In the recent Communication from the Commission on the exploration and production of hydrocarbons (such as shale gas) using high volume hydraulic fracturing in the EU, the establishment of a European Science and Technology Network on Unconventional Hydrocarbon Extraction was announced, bringing together practitioners from industry, research, academia and civil society.
The main objective of the Network is to collect, analyse and review results from exploration projects as well as to assess the development of technologies used in unconventional gas and oil projects. The Network is established for 3 years.
The Network aims at "…bringing together practitioners from industry, research, academia as well as civil society. The Network will collect, analyse and review results from exploration projects as well as assess the development of technologies used in unconventional gas and oil projects".
"The network shall be complementary to other related Commission initiatives, in particular to the revision of the Best Available Techniques Reference document (BREF) on the management of extractive waste (on-going), the development of a new BREF on hydrocarbon exploration and production (to be launched), the exchange with Member States in the Technical Working Group on environmental aspects of unconventional fossil fuels and EU funded research activities."
"The review and development of the BREFs will gather representatives from Member States, industries concerned and non-governmental organisations promoting environmental protection."
The objectives of the Network are:
- structuring the dialogue among the stakeholders, fostering open information and knowledge sharing;
- presenting and discussing research activities and their results, as well as identifying gaps and research and innovation needs;
- examining knowledge gained from exploration and production projects;
- identifying and assessing emerging technologies including their economic, environment and climate impacts.
The JRC has received the mandate to establish and manage this network in close cooperation with DG Environment, DG Energy, DG Research & Innovation, DG Climate Action and DG Enterprise and Industry.