Study shows risks shale gas can be overcome

Minister Kamp of Economic Affairs has informed the Dutch Parliament that risks from fracking to produce shale gas can be overcome, according to an independent study carried out by engineering firm Witteveen+Bos.

'Natural gas is the most important energy resource in the Netherlands, used by 98% of all households. The study shows that under the current legislation the risks from fracking can easily be controlled,' the Minister said. 'To assess the potential importance of fracking for the Dutch economy, we will have to carry out test drills.”

At this stage it is too early to make a decision about possible test drills. Once a panel of experts (The Netherlands Commission for Environmental Assessment) has made recommendations based on the Witteveen+Bos study, Parliament will be informed about a decision on the processing of applications for test drilling.

Even after the applications have been processed, several steps are still required before permission can be granted. A site-specific study is needed to determine how the planned test drill can be carried out in a safe and responsible manner. Local residents and authorities will be involved in these studies.

If the study results show that a test drill can be carried out in a safe and responsible manner, further licences are required, for instance for the construction of a drilling rig. The local authority involved will play an active role here.