Public consultation on unconventional fossil fuels in Europe
The European Commission is holding a public consultation on the future development of unconventional fossil fuels such as shale gas in Europe. All interested individuals, organisations and public authorities are welcome to share their views on the possible opportunities and challenges that may arise from the development of such projects and on the best ways to address the challenges identified so far. The consultation is open until 20 March 2013. The consultation is available in all 23 EU languages.
Exploration and production of natural gas and oil within Europe has in the past been mainly focused on conventional resources. Whilst opportunities for this type of domestic extraction are becoming increasingly limited, technological progress is opening up new possibilities to extract unconventional fossil fuels such as shale gas, tight gas, coal bed methane, tight oil or shale oil, from geological formations which were previously too complex or too expensive to extract.
The European Commission aims to ensure that developments of unconventional fossil fuels are carried out with proper health, climate and environmental safeguards in place and under maximum legal clarity and predictability for both citizens and operators, as well as to ensure that the potential economic and energy security benefits of such developments can be reaped.
Building on analytical work it has conducted since the end of 2011, the Commission has included in its Work Programme for 2013 the development of an "Environmental, Climate and Energy Assessment Framework to Enable Safe and Secure Unconventional Hydrocarbon Extraction" (http://ec.europa.eu/atwork/pdf/cwp2013_an nex_en.pdf).
This internet-based consultation is part of the European Commission's efforts to consult with relevant stakeholders and with the public on this topic.