OMV Places Austrian Shale Gas Project on Hold
OMV AG has placed a temporary halt to plans to drill for shale gas in Lower Austria's wine country.
In a statement issued on Friday, the Austrian energy giant said that it would wait for the completion of comprehensive environmental and social studies by the Federal Environmental Agency and TÜV Austria.
Geological studies had shown the potential for large shale gas reserves in the Lower Austria which could cover Ausria's domestic requirements for a period of 30 years.
The company had planned to conduct two test drillings in the region around Poysdorf, located in the Weinviertel (wine quarter).
OMV has been actively seeking community support for shale gas development, assuring that its activities will be undertaken in a safe and responsible manner. However, the company not only faced oppostion from environmental and local citizen groups, but it plans were also challenged by politicians at various levels, including by Austria's Environment Minister Niki Berlakovich.
Erwin Pröll, the Governor of Lower Austria, had called for legislative changes to be introduce to preclude the drilling for shale gas due to concerns over the potential impact of hydraulic fracturing.
OMV had attempted to address concerns about potentional groundwater contamination from fracking by proposing the use of fracking fluids containing use water, sand and cornstarch and without chemicals, that are to be developed in conjunction with the University of Leoben.