Govt Amends Mining Act to Allow Low-Volume Fracking in Petišovci

By , 13 Jan 2022, 13:46 PM Politics
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STA, 12 January 2022 - The government has adopted amendments to the mining act under which low-volume hydraulic fracturing would be allowed but high-volume fracturing banned, legislation that paves the way for fracturing in the only location in Slovenia where it is currently being explored, the Petišovci gas field in the east.

The only permitted type of hydraulic fracturing would be the kind where less than 1,000 m3 of water is injected per fracturing phase, with the total amount of water injected in the entire process capped at 10,000 m3, according to amendments adopted on Tuesday evening.

All compounds used in the process - the injected water is typically mixed with different chemicals to make the process more efficient - would have to be identified and permitted in Slovenia.

The fracturing well would have to be located, constructed and tested for sealing in a manner that would prevent pollutants from leaking.

Fracturing may not result in two water bodies coming into contact, or fluids being mixed in different geological layers. Drilling would have to be done vertically, with a maximum deviation of 10 degrees.

The bill – of which hydraulic fracturing is only a part - was adopted just a day after a rival bill that would have banned hydraulic fracturing altogether was to be discussed on committee.

The ban, proposed by three centre-left parties, is the fifth attempt spearheaded by the Left to introduce a blanket ban on fracking.

Left leader Luka Mesec said today the government bill would allow the UK firm Ascent Resources to continue extracting gas in Petišovci under the pretext that this would only constitute a small-scale operation.

"The government is showing its true face yet again: it does not care about the country, the people or the environment, all it cares about is dirty business," Mesec said.

The government bill was first announced almost exactly a year ago.

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