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Expert draws attention to negative environmental impact of developing shale gas fields in Ukraine

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Nov. 27, 2012, 12:03 p.m. | Business — by Interfax-Ukraine

View of a drilling rig exploring for shale gas in the eastern Polish village of Grzebowilk on April 27, 2011.
© AFP

An expert has said he is alarmed at the possible negative environmental impact of developing shale gas fields in Ukraine.

"During the development of shale gas fields, we could destroy so-called retainers, and cause the migration of gas and chemical agents to higher layers. There is a risk of emissions of gas and other pollutants to the strata of drinking and mineral waters," the senior research officer of the manmade and ecological safety department of National Institute for Strategic Studies, Yevhen Yakovlev, said at a roundtable entitled "Methods of assessing regional ecological risks, foreign experience and the state of the problem in Ukraine" in Kyiv on Monday.

Human-caused earthquakes could be one of the risks of the consequences of developing the shale gas fields, the expert said.

Yakovlev believes that during the exploration of shale gas fields the location of overland infrastructure, the routes of pipelines, water pipelines and transport infrastructure should be taken into account.

He said that Ukraine should take into consideration the experience of the United States, Germany and Austria in the issue, but not copy it, as the geological environment in the United States and other countries differs from the geological environment in Ukraine.

"The study of the technology should be very thorough and reliable, as we're working on a territory densely inhabited compared to the United States. We have a large utilities infrastructure, gas and oil pipelines railway and we have drinking and mineral water deposits. There is an ecological preserve… and we should take these things into account," he said.

Yakovlev said that the forecasts of risks based on the conclusions of scientists lag behind the practical steps being taken in developing shale gas fields in Ukraine.

Yakovlev said that an analysis of social, environmental and economic consequences has not been conducted in Ukraine, and there is no comparative analysis of the effectiveness of shale gas field development, or the possible risks that the work could involvev.

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