Assessment of European Shale-Gas Play Takes Social Acceptance Into Account
- Adam Wilson (JPT Editorial Manager)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- August 2012
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 62 - 66
- 2012. Society of Petroleum Engineers
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- 34 since 2007
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This article, written by Editorial Manager Adam Wilson, contains highlights of paper SPE 152339, "Assessment of an Unusual European Shale-Gas Play: The Cambro- Ordovician Alum Shale, Southern Sweden," by Wilfred Pool, Mark Geluk, Janneke Abels, and Graham Tiley, Shell International E&P, and Erdem Idiz and Elise Leenaarts, Shell Global Solutions International, prepared for the 2012 SPE/EAGE European Unconventional Resources Conference and Exhibition, Vienna, Austria, 20-22 March. The paper has not been peer reviewed.
In 2008, Shell obtained two licenses for unconventional gas exploration in the Skåne region of southern Sweden, with a total size of 2500 km2. The objective was the Cambro-Ordovician alum shale, one of the thickest and richest marine source rocks in onshore northern Europe. Concerns from the residents of Skåne regarding the visual impact of activities and potential impact of drilling activities on the aquifers and on the tourism industry have resulted in extensive engagements with stakeholders and specific requirements around seismic acquisition, site preparation, and operations.
In 2006 and 2007, a screening study for potential unconventional basins was undertaken in Shell. The focus for this screening was to identify basins with excellent source rocks because unconventional gas systems require excellent, gas-prone source rocks in the right maturity window. Several source-rock systems were screened, one of which was the Lower Paleozoic system on the east European platform. This system has a considerable regional extent, stretching more than 1500 km from Denmark in the northwest to the Moesian platform in Romania and Bulgaria in the southeast.
The derisking strategy for this opportunity was based on both technical and nontechnical aspects. The aim was to collect geological and geophysical data to constrain depth and thickness of the shale and to identify potential dolerite dykes. In addition, well data were needed to establish rock properties and gas content.
Sweden does not have much exposure to hydrocarbon-related activities, and the application for the two licenses in Skåne resulted in nationwide press attention, especially when it was realized that these were so-called unconventional hydrocarbons. People in the Skåne region were concerned about the impact of the exploration activities in these licenses. The mindset in Shell from the start was to perform the exploration (and, in case of success, the appraisal and production activities) in a sustainable way with minimal impact to ensure social acceptance.
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