Total said on Thursday that it will drop its exploration for shale gas in northern Zealand after failing to find sufficient deposits. The French company’s explorations in northern Jutland will continue after being temporarily shut down by Danish energy officials last week.
If Total finds sufficient amounts of shale gas is found on the property, the company will then explore the possibility of extracting the shale gas through fracking, the pumping of pressurized, chemical-laden water into underground rock layers.
If that goes ahead, it will be the first ever fracking site in Denmark.
Although the Jutland site was shut down after the use of an unapproved chemical and has faced steady protests from the local community and environmental groups, Total said its decision to give up on the Zealand site had nothing to do with political pressure.
“The shale gas supply is too thin for us to find it relevant to investigate the area further. It has absolutely nothing to do with politics,” the company’s Danish spokesman, Henrik Nicolaisen, told broadcaster DR.
Energy Minister Rasmus Helveg Petersen didn’t sound too sad to see Total go.
“I’m satisfied that Total has relinquished its permission to explore for shale gas in north Zealand,” he told DR.
Denmark is one of the few European countries alongside Britain, Poland and Romania that allows fracking. The process is widely used in the United States, where it has contributed to the country's burgeoning oil and natural gas production but also raised serious causes about the process’s environmental repercussions, including the possible contamination of groundwater and creation of tremors.
Activists in Denmark said they would continue to lobby for Total's Jutland site to be shut down.
Pressure is mounting: #fracking in #Denmark after @Total retreats frm one area. All eyes on North Jutland! @Frack_Off pic.twitter.com/BfqYKXGQ5D
— Anders Vang Nielsen (@Anders_Vang) May 21, 2015