OMV's Huijskes: Industry must show shale gas drilling can be safe

9/20/2012

OMV's Huijskes: Industry must show shale gas drilling can be safe

BY NICOLE LUNDEEN

LOEBEN, AUSTRIA -- The gas industry needs to prove that drilling for alternative sources of natural gas can be done safely and environmentally responsibly, the head of exploration and production at Austria's oil and gas company OMV said.

I fully accept the challenge to the industry to prove that we can explore for shale gas safely and environmentally responsibly. Clearly that's our duty, Jaap Huijskes said at a raw materials conference in the town of Loeben, central Austria.

However, the public must to at least entertain the idea of looking for shale gas--an alternative source of natural gas, he said. "What we need is simply acceptance that this is a part of the energy supply that we want to entertain in Europe and that goes for Austria, it goes for France, it goes for Germany in essence, it goes for all of Europe," Mr. Huijskes said.

OMV said it would halt a project to drill for shale gas in northern Austria using a controversial drilling method known as fracking after a law was introduced requiring an environmental impact assessment for each shale-gas well.

Despite this, shale gas hasn't been completely removed from OMV's agenda. "Shale gas isn't going anywhere. It will still be there a couple years from now," he said.

Mr. Huijskes also remains confident that the proposed pipeline Nabucco West will be built, but that he expects its shape to change. Nabucco West a shortened version of the originally proposed Nabucco pipeline would transport gas from the Caspian region to Europe, helping to reduce the continent's reliance on Russian energy. OMV is a partner in the consortium behind the Nabucco project.

Dow Jones Newswires

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