At a recent meeting of the Directors of European Geological Surveys of the North Atlantic Group (NAG), held in Copenhagen/Denmark on 12.09.2014, the directors published a statement about the extraction of shale gas by the “Hydraulic Fracturing Method” (also hydrofracturing, hydrofracking, or short: fracking), a well-stimulation technique in which rock is fractured by a hydraulically pressurized liquid to improve its permeability. Thus, reports were given on the varying situations of the NAG European Surveys, including some scientific advice to respective governments on the development of shale gas.
The Survey Directors are concerned that frequent misleading media messages regarding exploration and exploitation of raw materials and geo-energy have the potential to obscure scientific results and conclusions, and may ultimately lead to poor decisions for society. Particular concern was expressed that the role of the national Geological Survey may be bypassed, resulting in the submission of poorly formulated geo-scientific advice to governments.
As well the survey directors emphasize that their surveys hold the majority of key sub-surface data for their nations. They are thus best placed to objectively and independently inform decision-makers, on shale and other geo-resource estimation exercises, and on some of the potential environmental risks of the operations.
Of course governments make the political decisions on the use of geo-resources and the inclusion of shale gas and oil in a nation’s energy mix. However, Geological Surveys can supply them with geo-science data and knowledge so that decisions will be based on the best available scientific evidence.