The first shale gas well in Denmark is on the brink of becoming a reality following the confirmation that Frederikshavn Council in Jutland has given the French oil and gas company Total a permit to establish a well in nearby Dybvad.
The council has been deliberating over the process since 2012, spending close to 1,500 man hours looking into the issue of shale gas drilling. The process was so thorough that for the first time in Danish history, a full-blown VVM-report was commissioned to evaluate the environmental ramifications.
“We had a good and factual debate,” Birgit Stenbak Hansen, Frederikshavn’s mayor, told Jyllands-Posten newspaper. “I am pleased that we can move on in this case after preparing meticulously for the council.”
Despite its preparations, the case has been under great public scrutiny and demonstrations were held outside the council ahead of the vote.
Their concern is that the controversial ‘fracking’ method used to obtain the shale gas could have serious environmental consequences.
But there is no need for concern, according to the Environment Ministry and the energy authorities, Energistyrelsen, which both approved the project.
“The VVM-report shows that there won’t be a notable effect on the environment,” said Anders Brandt Sørensen, the head of the planning and environment committee Plan- og Miljøudvalget. “So we won’t stop it.”
Out of the 31 city council members in Frederikshavn, just four voted against the project.