In neuquénWednesday, March 5, 2014
New set of rules for shale
Neuquen province’s Governor Jorge Sapag will in the next few days present the provincial Legislature a new set of bills to regulate the exploration of unconventional hydrocarbon reservoirs, including the much-coveted Vaca Muerta, as well as measures of environmental protection and social and community responsibility for the oil and gas projects in the province.
The bills will establish “a specific regulation of permits and concessions for non-conventional extraction techniques,” the provincial government said.
Creating a new set of rules does not mean replacing or derogating the current provincial regulations, the government said, since the bills only focus on “creating a special scheme according to the needs” of unconventional hydrocarbon projects.
The bills are destined for those who currently develop oil and gas using unconventional techniques such as hydraulic fracturing and for those who present new projects to exploit shale oil and gas areas in Neuquén.
At the same time, the government wants to set new regulations to protect the environment from the impact of unconventional oil and gas projects, whose techniques are criticized by environmental organizations. The bill establishes “goals, actions and strategies to protect the environment” and is based on the laws of “the most advanced countries in the area.”
The bill forbids using in unconventional oil and gas projects water obtained from aquifers which have the necessary characteristics to be consumed by people or used in irrigation and therapeutic treatments. At the same time, the bill forces companies to treat polluted water and gives the government the authority to establish where it will be deposited. No open-pit tanks with polluted water can be built, according to the bill.
All the companies will have to specify which chemical products are used in the process of extracting oil and gas with unconventional techniques, all of which will be registered by the Environment Secretariat. All the unconventional drilling projects will need to have environmental authorization before beginning.
“We want to give the province a new set of rules to regulate unconventional oil and gas projects,” the government said
Herald with Télam