03 October 2011 11:24 [Source: ICIS news]
BERLIN (ICIS)--Information on the identity of the chemicals used in the process to extract shale gas should be made available to allay fears about contamination of water supplies, a director of Shell said on Monday.
"People are very afraid...of chemicals getting into the groundwater," said Jeroen van der Veer, who was CEO of the Anglo-Dutch oil giant from 2004 until 2009.
"Personally, I think it is better that you declare what those chemicals are," van der Veer told delegates at the 45th annual European Petrochemical Association (EPCA) meeting.
He later told journalists that his views on the matter were his own, and that he was not speaking on behalf of the company.
That policy endorses transparency about chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing - also known as fracking - of shale deposits to extract natural gas.
But the company stopped short of making a blanket promise, citing the preferences of the suppliers of drilling chemicals.
"We release information about chemicals used in our hydraulic fracturing operations (to the extent allowed by our suppliers) and support regulation to require suppliers to release such information," the policy states.
Suppliers in the shale gas sector maintain their formulations should stay secret for commercial reasons.
The development of shale gas deposits in the US has been accompanied by sustained opposition from environmental groups, who claim chemicals have leaked in local water supplies.
The US chemical industry has supported the efforts of upstream companies to have shale gas production regulated by state governments.
Groups opposed to shale gas instead favour federal regulation, which is perceived as being more stringent.
Shell announced in June that it intends to build a new cracker in the Appalachian region in the northeast of the US, where the Marcellus shale formation is the focus of much of the development in the sector.
For more on Shell visit ICIS company intelligence
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