Denmark To Join Shale Gas Quest In Europe

Rasmussen said, however, that Total will initially be permitted only to drill only conventional wells to take test samples in Denmark, without using hydraulic fracturing, in which chemicals, sand and water are blasted deep into the earth to break up shale formations and allow gas to escape.

Environmental groups have protested at shale gas exploration plans in Denmark, fearing that hydraulic fracturing could contaminate groundwater. This method will in any case require a separate environmental impact study and permit, Rasmussen said.

The government issued two licences in 2010 for Total and North Sea Fund to explore for oil and gas in northeast Denmark, where shale formations lie at depths of around 4,000 metres.

Production of shale gas in Denmark was not expected to start earlier than around 2020, Shale Gas Europe said.

Denmark exports gas to Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden. The latter is fully dependent on Danish gas supplies.

(Reporting by Nerijus Adomaitis; Editing by Mark Heinrich)


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