The Basque Government opens the most important international conference on unconventional gas
The Basque Government, as the representative of what is currently one of the leading unconventional gas territories worldwide, has repeated its sole immediate intention to ‘explore' the fields found in the Basque Country to gather information on the environmental, technical and economic impact of its possible and subsequent exploitation.
The Basque Country has unconventional gas fields totalling 185 bcm, which could mean a gas supply for the Basques for the coming 60 years.
The breakthrough of unconventional gas in the 21st century has meant an extraordinary change with undeniable international geo-political implications, and future opportunities for countries where these gas fields are found.
Natural gas is the most widely consumed energy source in the Basque Country and accounted for 42% of the total energy demand in 2010.
Xabier Garmendia, the Basque Country's Deputy Minister for Industry and Energy, opened the most important international unconventional gas conference, the 'Unconventional Gas Forum 2012', in Barcelona this morning.
The organisers want to showcase as a benchmark the Basque Country's approach to the unconventional gas fields in its territory.
Xabier Garmendia took the opportunity to explain to the conference delegates that unconventional gas fields had been discovered in the Basque Country. Their capacity of 185 bcm meant that the Basque Country could be supplied for the coming 60 years.He also stressed that each unconventional gas field is unique and must be explored in depth in order to establish the environmental, economic and technical feasibility of a possible future development, which is what is happening in the case of the Gran Enara Project in Álava. As he went on to explain: "The negative hypothetical consequences attributed to a specific gas field must never be applied to another different field, except as initial information to establish the probability of something similar happening in the new site to be prospected and to implement preventive actions."
He stressed that the operating of an unconventional gas field involves no greater risks than those associated to operating conventional resources. And this is the only way to obtain the necessary information to assess the feasibility of continuing with a future development of the field, as any decision based on ignorance or merely on unproven hypotheses will not result in a successful outcome.
The Basque Government unveiled its 2020 energy strategy recently. It envisages natural gas continuing to be the main fuel in our energy mix over the coming decade and thus being the basic energy source during the transition to greater use of renewable energy. It therefore should be noted that natural gas is the most widely consumed energy source in the Basque Country and accounted for 42% of the total energy demand in 2010. The discovery of unconventional gas fields in the Basque Country is therefore extraordinarily important for the future, and specifically, for the economic situation of our country.
'Unconventional Gas Forum 2012'
During the congress, which has attracted representatives and experts in this field from different countries (the USA, France, Turkey, United Kingdom, Ireland, among others), the delegates looked back over the history of prospecting for unconventional gas and discussed the US experience in this sector. They also considered the possible risks to the environment and the challenges of public perception.
During the conference, the experts sought to clarify the doubts generated by the progress in exploiting unconventional gas from an international perspective.
Vitoria- Gasteiz, 13 March 2012