Shale gas is a form of unconventional gas. To extract it from the shale, horizontal drilling techniques and hydraulic fracturing, known as fracking, are required. In this process millions of liters of water, sand and chemicals are injected at a high pressure, fracture the rock and release the gas. Once the hydraulic fracturing process is completed a large amount of the initial fracturing fluids are mixed with waste produced by the fracking. This rises to the surface where it is collected. The recovered fluid is known as ‘flowback’ or ‘waste water’.
At the moment, the only country in the world exploiting this resource is the US. According to a study conducted by the Environmental Investigation Agency in 2011, European countries with the greatest potential for shale gas are Poland, France, Norway, Sweden, Ukraine, the UK, the Netherlands and Germany.
The Greens/EFA group in the European Parliament and the European Green Party have decided to join force with several European NGOs and local communities to warn European citizens and decision-makers about the real dangers that the extraction of shale gas represents. The campaign points out some high risks of fracking and shale gas exploitation;