Spain: Madrid plans to extract shale gas

19 March 2013 – Presseurop El País

"Government greenlights fracking," announces El País, following the March 1 approval by the Spanish parliament of a bill which will facilitate the use of the controversial technique for the extraction shale gas, which has already been contested by affected municipalities and environemental groups. According to estimates, Spain’s unconventional gas reserves, which have been valued at €700bn, are sufficient to supply 39 years of domestic consumption, and companies in the sector have announced that, over the next few years, they are planning to invest between €700m and €1bn to develop this resource. For El País “there is no incontrovertible reason to outlaw” its development Spain, if “the collateral impact on the environment is subject to strict controls.” However, the newspaper also reports that opinion on fracking remains divided —

For some, this gas extraction technique will needlessly turn Spain into a kind of gruyère cheese. For others, it amounts to a golden opportunity for a country that imports 99 per cent of the hydrocarbons it consumes.

Division over the issue is also prevalent in Europe, adds the Madrid daily —

Europe has no common legislation on the environmental conditions that should apply for the use of this controversial method, and apparently this is not about to be rectified anytime soon. There are glaring divisions between countries, and even between the responsible [European] Commissioners. France, Ireland and Bulgaria have imposed moratoriums on fracking. Poland has resolutely backed the method. [And] to date, the reports presented both by the European Commission and the European Parliament have reached divergent conclusions.

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