Fracking off in Denmark as Total gives up on drilling in Dybvad

French energy giant pondering its next move

The French energy company Total has decided to stop its drilling for shale gas in Dybvad, north Jutland as tests over the past three months have indicated there is not enough shale gas to make the fracking operation viable.

According to the energy and climate minister, Lars Christian Lilleholt, Total has closed down the drilling in Dybvad permanently, although it is licensed to continue the search for shale gas in north Jutland until June 2016.

“There is a temporary halt on new applications for shale gas drilling, and that will continue,” Lilleholt told TV2 News. “That means new applicants won’t be approved for new shale gas drilling on land at the moment.”

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Waiting on results
Meanwhile, Total is in the process of closing up the 3.5 km-deep hole in Dybvad and has yet to decide whether to continue with test drilling elsewhere.

First, the company needs to analyse the results of its initial drilling to see if it is worth making another attempt elsewhere in order to locate shale gas wells that are viable in the Danish underground.

“There are two options. Either you continue with a new test drilling somewhere else, or you close up shop,” Henrik Nicolaisen, a project co-ordinator with Total, told Ekstra Bladet tabloid.

“The only things we can say is that we have already spent up to 300 million kroner on this trial drilling. Obviously, at some point we have to put our foot down and say enough is enough.”

Total, which has a licence that covers about 3,000 square kilometres in five north Jutland municipalities, expects to make a decision concerning future shale gas drilling in Denmark by the end of the year.