In 2012-2013, International charitable organization “Environment–People–Law” (EPL) was one of the first organizations that studied the issue of extraction of unconventional hydrocarbons and results of these studies can beviewed here.
After overturn of Yanukovych’s regime pro-shale propaganda abated but not for long. On 11 October 2015, EPL was invited to premier watching of documentary film by Ihor Chaika “Gas revolution or shale zugzwang” in Lviv.
We had an impression that organizers did not know exactly whom they invited because they were surprised at EPL’s position that survey and extraction of unconventional hydrocarbons in Olesko and Yuzivska fields as of today will bring more harm than benefit.
The presented film proves that it will be long before we have a transparent procedure of decision-making regarding extraction of unconventional hydrocarbons. It is worth noting that except showing American roads, exhibitions of retro cars and flourishing American business, the film, unfortunately, does not contain any information about technology of unconventional hydrocarbons extraction and specific features of fracking. The film calls for active extraction of unconventional hydrocarbons as the only correct way of gaining Ukraine’s energy independence.
Earlier EPL analyzed draft agreements on hydrocarbons distribution and legislation that regulates these issues and constantly follows the situation with development of energy vector in Ukraine.
Back in 2013, EPL presented short analysis of social and economic challenges of the drilling process and exploitation of shale gas in the USA, Western Europe, Ukraine in the compendium “Shale gas explorations and extraction: social, legal and environmental issues” (an overview). It also includes analysis of the draft Agreement “On hydrocarbons sharing to be extracted in Yuzivska field between (1) Ukraine and (2) Shell Exploration and Production Ukraine Investment company (IV) B. V and “Nadra Yuzivska” Ltd, reference information that helps better understanding of the process of fracking, dwells on legal aspects of the issue of appropriation of lands for social needs. Full text of the compendium can be found here: http://epl.org.ua/images/pdf/people/EPL_GAS_ENG_mini.pdf
Moreover, EPL initiated a number of litigation processes, in particular concerning access to texts of product sharing agreements, permits for special use of minerals, for the right to perform fracking on the allocated areas and regarding challenging conclusions of environmental expertise of product sharing agreements. Detailed information on the litigation processes can be found at the following link: http://epl.org.ua/law/spravy/netradytsiini-hazy/357-oskarzhennia-konfidentsiinosti-uhody-pro-rozpodil-vuhlevodniv.
All these cases prove non-transparency of fracking-related processes in Ukraine, limits in access to environmental information, failure to take account of public opinion and violation of the right to environmental safety. Texts of court decisions in the above mentioned cases can be found in the register of court decisions on environmental matters at http://caselawepl.org.ua/
In the course of discussing the film, we drew attention of the participants to a number of issues that should be considered if we want to adopt reasonable rather than emotional decisions that bring more good than evil.
Below we present thesis statements of EPL expressed in the course of discussing the film:
- No one is going to bring to Ukraine the newest technologies if their import is duty-free (i.e. uncontrolled). This applies also to the chemicals that will be used for hydraulic fracturing at a depth of 3 – 4 and even 5 thousand meters.
- About 60 % of solution, which is pumped into the well, comes back to the surface and is stored in a sludge pit in the open. There is no technology of utilization of these solutions, just as there is no proper environmental impact assessment of large lakes with chemical reagents.
- One well for hydrolic fracturing needs about 20 000 m3 of water. Neither Olesko field nor Yuzivska field has big amounts of “free” fresh water because these are densely populated areas.
- According to the Energy Strategy of Ukraine, we do not have an energy crisis right now, but opposite to this we export energy resources abroad.
- No one asked local population, which suffers most from the extraction of unconventional gas, whether they agree to intervention in the environment of their living and what social benefits they want in return.
- Because of the absence of the institute of environmental expertise and environmental impact assessment, no one can objectively foresee whether the planned activities will be safe.
The main thesis that EPL was trying to communicate about extraction of unconventional hydrocarbons is that in order to ensure sustainable development of Ukraine envisaging balanced development of economy, social sphere and environmental protection, Ukraine should make maximum transparent the procedures related to extraction of natural resources because only the people are owners of natural resources and they have the right to know how the state uses these resources on their behalf. Ensuring transparent procedures will be a proof of Ukraine’s compliance with international obligations.
We call on environmental NGOs to be alert, actively participate in all presentations, round-table discussions, other actions on exploration and extraction of unconventional hydrocarbons in order to prevent manipulation of facts and hold professional discussions of the issue.
We invite to professional discussions to our offices:
Ivan Franko St. 9/1-a, Lviv
Saksahanskoho St. 53/80, Kyiv
Mailing address: Lviv-79000, P. O. 316
tel./fax. +380 32 225 76 82 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org