Greens warn on shale gas

  • 2012-05-16
  • From wire reports

VILNIUS - Shale gas is named as an alternative to natural gas delivered from a dominant supplier in order to diversify Lithuania’s energy resources, as well as being a way to eliminate dependence on a single supplier and reduced gas prices, reports ELTA. However, society is not being informed about the threats that shale gas poses, such as water pollution and danger to human health, said participants in the discussion ‘What is more important, Lithuania or shale gas?,’ held at Elta news agency.

According to head of the Lithuanian Green Movement Rimantas Braziulis, the idea of shale gas is new in Lithuania. Shale gas extraction, according to the Greens, endangers the environment and people. “There are two main dangers concerning shale gas extraction. First of all, the way the gas is extracted is dangerous to the environment and human health. The gas is located deep down in rocks, the bores have to reach down 2-3 kilometers and get pumped with around 250 tank-loads of water mixed with chemicals. The pressure reaches super high levels so that this chemical water could break rocks for the shale gas to get released. Around half of that toxic water inevitably goes up to the surface, and then nobody knows where to put it,” he said.

He says that if Lithuania wants to obtain a measurable amount of shale gas, it would have to “blow up half of Samogitia” in the northwest of the country. Each borehole would leave a toxic water pool, leading to a problem of how to dispose of it.
Secondly, according to the Greens’ leader, the consequences of shale gas exploration are not yet known. Shale gas extraction began only 10 years ago in the United States. Now in Pittsburg, in Virginia, people are not recommended to drink local water in some areas, as it is polluted with chemicals. However, the pollution has not been shown to be a result of the extraction, known in the industry as ‘fracking.’

Geologists estimate that Lithuania has 480 billion cubic meters of shale gas, which could produce 120 billion cubic meters of gas.