A week after The Danish Energy Agency (Energistyrelsen) stopped the French energy giant Total from carrying out shale gas exploration in northern Jutland, it reversed its decision, allowing drilling work to proceed.
On 5th May the agency ordered Total to stop exploration work when it became known that Total used a chemical that was not approved as part of the local authorities’ environmental impact assessment (EIA). At the time, the company claimed that it didn’t think they needed a permission to use the chemical – an anti-foaming agent called NullFoam – because its purpose was the protect workers.
“We have been in dialogue with both the municipality and the Danish Energy Agency since February and we felt that we had a common understanding that the substance could be used,” Henrik Nicolaisen, who is supervising the drilling project for Total, told public broadcaster DR.
Total was then asked by the DEA to explain “how it will ensure that there will be no future mistakes” and to implement new procedures for the handling of chemicals. .
On May 8th, the DEA received a statement from Total, in which the company described what steps will be taken to ensure that no future errors occur. Moving forward, Total introduced new procedures to control the handling of chemicals, which include submitting daily inventory of chemicals and drilling mud composition along with daily drilling reports to the DEA. Chemicals like Null Foam that have not received approval will in the future be clearly marked and stored separately from approved chemicals.
DEA concluded that drilling will resume when the environmental authorities have given final approval.
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