A survey released last week showed that 61 per cent of Spaniards support hydrocarbon exploration. Furthermore, the report commissioned by the Spanish Oil & Gas Association ACIEP, showed that a whopping 80 per cent of respondents are concerned about the lack of the countries energy independence.
Spain – Europe’s fifth-largest energy consumer – currently relies on imports for 99 per cent of its hydrocarbons, with Algeria supplying 39 per cent of Spain’s natural gas. In 2012, hydrocarbons constituted 64 of its energy mix, with nuclear reactors accounting for 21 per cent, and renewable energy, including hydroelectric generation, providing 30 per cent of Spain’s power generation. The high reliance on expensive hydrocarbons explains the country’s repeatedly stated readiness for shale gas exploration.
The Spanish government has long declared its support for shale gas in the hope that it will spur growth and job creation. According to the Spanish Oil&Gas Association ACIEP, there are currently about 70 exploration permits (for different types of hydrocarbon) in force and a further 75 awaiting authorisation. The number of permits requested and granted has gone up by 80 per cent in the last five years
A report published last March by Deloitte estimated that there are enough reserves for the country to become completely independent of gas imports by 2030 and an exporter of natural gas until 2050. The report also says that the oil industry could create 250,000 jobs and constitute 4.3% of GDP by 2065. The report is based on an estimate of 2bn barrels of oil and 2.5bn cubic metres of gas. This would be a very welcome development for a country that struggles with an almost 25 per cent unemployment rate.
According to another report, published in March 2013 by Gessal Consultants, Spain could hold as much as 2bn barrels of oil and 2.5bn cubic metres of natural gas of which 80 per cent is found in shale rock.
With the popular support for hydrocarbons – significantly lacking in many other European countries – Spain may see results from shale relatively soon.
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