Translated from Friends of the Earth in the Netherlands:
Shell wants to do fracking, even in pristine Patagonia
May 17, 2014
Despite billions of dollars in losses on their current shale gas program in the U.S., Shell is keeping its blinders on. The company now even wants to drill for shale gas in a national park in the south of Argentina. It is an area with unique plants and animals, where small-scale goat farmers make a living in the arid steppe. Also this is an area where the original inhabitants of Argentina, the Mapuche, are still trying to live like their ancestors. Friends of the Earth went to investigate and found that Shell in Argentina is playing fast and loose with the environmental rules.
Shell are fracking in an area which has been declared by the rangers to be a specially protected area. Friends of the Earth also found an abandoned container with waste water at an abandoned drilling site – a major risk to condors and other birds, which may mistake the toxic water for potable fresh water.
Heavy tank trucks and choked vegetation
Friends of the Earth has visited the area this month, and spoke with residents who increasingly suffer from the activities of major oil and gas companies. Increasingly, vegetation is cleared for the construction of roads and drilling locations. Heavy tankers drive back and forth to the wells, causing major dust problems. This smothers vegetation, the food for their goats. For local farmers it is increasingly difficult to provide food for their herds, but they are not offered any compensation.
We have guests next week from Argentina who visit to talk about their opposition to drilling in the Netherlands and their experiences with Shell. This will include them speaking at a public meeting about resistance against fracking in Eindhoven on Wednesday [21 May 2014].
Fracking for shale gas in a drought prone national park
Later tonight the TV current affairs program Eén Vandaag will show images of Shell‘s fracking drilling in Patagonia. We also filmed ourselves – and have put a short selection in the video. Coming soon with more pictures ( ! )
The technique which allows Shell to drill for shale gas brings a lot of additional greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. It is not only CO2, but also the much more potent methane. If Shell would like to export shale gas from Patagonia to major markets, such as Asia or Europe, then it must also be converted to liquefied natural gas (LNG) – in which Shell is investing eg in Nigeria. The conversion to LNG makes the CO2 intensity of fossil fuel again considerably larger .
This not only increases the environmental impact significantly, but also the financial risks relating to such investments. The former chief executive of Shell called the multi-billion investment in U.S. shale gas the biggest mistake of the company.
See also here.
This is a video from Argentina about this nature reserve, Auca Mahuida; and the fracking there.
Its wildlife includes Pampas cats.
This is a Pampas cat video.
The new report is called Heading south – The dash for unconventional fossil fuels in Argentina.