OMV Drops Plans for Shale Gas Exploration in Austria
Speaking to ORF Radio, OMV´s director of Exploration and Production, Christopher Veit said that pusuing shale gas in Austria currently makes "no economic sense."
The OMV respesentative said that the pending introduction of a law in Austria that would require companies to undertake a detailed environmental inspection before each planned project had negative economic consequences.
"In this context, the project is economically not viable," said OMV's Veit. "Currently, there are no further plans on shale gas in Austria," he continued.
OMV had planned to undertake two shale gas exploration wells in Lower Austria's wine country at a cost of 130 million euros. 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.
However, plans for drilling in in Herrnbaumgarten and Poysdorf (both in the Mistelbach district ), were met with protests from environmental and community groups, resulting in the company placing a temporary halt to plans in March.
OMV's plans were also challenged by politicians at various levels, including 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 has been actively seeking community support for shale gas development, assuring that its activities will be undertaken in a safe and responsible manner. The company 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 were to be developed in conjunction with the University of Leoben.
OMV said that the decision not to proceed in Austria would not affect any potential future plans to explore share gas in other countries.