Fracking for Hungary? Minister describes Hungary’s “neutral” position

Energy Trade

Hungary may be sitting atop shale gas assets totaling 2 trillion cubic meters, but for now Minister of Rural Development Sándor Fazekas is still taking a cautious stand on fracking. Said Fazekas yesterday after a meeting in Vilnius, Lithuania, of EU environment ministers, “The large-scale utilization of shale gas would require the European Union to rethink the issue of renewable energy; this was put forward by several speakers…

For Fazekas, the key issue on the meeting’s agenda for Hungary was the question of shale gas extraction, and as the minister pointed out, the resources found in Makó are of “extraordinary value” to the country. However, Fazekas did emphasize that “it is very difficult to estimate the possible environmental danger posed” by fracking and “the extraction of shale gas also requires the establishment of many more wells, which brings up questions related to landscape protection and conservation,” among other issues.

Fazekas’ own position at present says that it would be advisable for Hungary to wait for the use of proven technologies for the extraction of shale gas – he stated that “Hungary has 75 years of tradition and experience with regard to the traditional extraction of hydrocarbons,” with the state already having issued “several permits for prospecting at the Makó gas field, and processes are currently underway in the area” – but the country itself is taking a neutral stand on the issue. Fazekas defended that stand with “Hungary … cannot take on a negative stance, because the shale gas reserves found in Hungary would be enough to supply the country with gas for centuries to come.”

Meeting chair Valentinas Mazuronis, the Lithuanian Environment Minister, stated at the meeting that a main priority in his country’s EU presidency is to address the newest international agreement on climate change. “Our goal is to implement preparation so that in 2015 we can reach consensus on the comprehensive legally binding international agreement to ensure ambitious and effective global action dealing with climate change,” Muzuronis said.

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