Shale gas and fracking, Denmark


In 2010 Total E and P Denmark B.V. and Danish state owned company Nordsofonden were granted licenses for onshore shale gas explorations in Denmark. These were to be done in two geographical areas in Denmark; one in North Jutland and the other one in North Zealand.

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Basic Data
NameShale gas and fracking, Denmark
Accuracy of LocationMEDIUM regional level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Fossil Fuels and Climate Justice/Energy
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Shale gas fracking
Specific CommoditiesNatural Gas
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsShale gas in the Danish underground is at 4000 meters depth. The six year long research and exploration process about shale gas in Denmark has been divided into three phases: 1) 2010-2012; 2) 2012-2014; 3) 2014-2016

The ongoing second phase is concerned with technicalities of the project. A couple of vertical wells will be constructed, through which it will be possible to gather data about the geology of the Danish underground, natural gas content, mineral content, etc. Possibly there will also be gathered seismic data, if there is a need for that.

According to the energy companies independent studies about the impacts on the local society and the environment will also be carried out in this phase. These studies will e.g. consider biodiversity, soil quality, hydro-geology, landscape descriptions.
Type of PopulationRural
Start Date2011
Company Names or State EnterprisesNordsofonden from Denmark
Total E&P Denmark B.V. from Denmark - Danish subsidiary of Total
Total SA from France
Relevant government actorsDanish Ministry of the Environment, Danish Ministry of Climate and Energy
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersCopenhagen Climate Collective, Greenpeace Denmark, Dansk Naturfredningsforening, Skifergas - Nej Tak !
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)MEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
When did the mobilization beginPREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups MobilizingLocal ejos
Nature conservation organisations
Forms of MobilizationCreation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of a network/collective action
Media based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil contamination, Groundwater pollution or depletion
Health ImpactsPotential: Accidents
Socio-economic ImpactsPotential: Loss of livelihood, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusProposed (exploration phase)
Development of AlternativesSkifergas Nej Tak! proposes to ban shale gas extraction and fracking in Denmark.
Do you consider this as a success?Not Sure
Why? Explain briefly.It is still too early to say whether it will be an environmental justice success. What has so far been a success is that the media has started to take the issue up from a critical angle, and local people as well as environmentalists are involved in the preventive phase of the resistance.

There seem to be three main arguments against fracking in Denmark.

1) The most mainstream one is focused on the health and environmental risks accompanying fracking.

2) Nature conservation environemntalists also mobilise on the importance of conserving natural landscapes, flora and fauna.

3) The Copenhagen Climate Collective emphasises in addition to the above arguments that shale gas is just another fossil fuel that serves to fuel continous faith in the economic growth paradigm and capitalism, creating more inequalities between privileged and marginalised social groups globally. Thus a perspective that is closely related to that of many ejo's in relation to other environmetal conflicts.
Sources and Materials

Lechtenboehmer, S. et al. 2011. Impacts of shale gas and shale oil extraction on the environment and on human heath, Document requested by the European Parliaments Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety, published on Energy Bulletin, avai
[click to view]

Osborn, S. G. et al. 2011. Methane contamination of drinking water accompanying gas-well drilling and hydraulic fracturing, PNAS Early Edition, pp. 1-5, available online:
[click to view]

Howarth, R.W, Santoro, R. and Ingraffea A. 2011. Methane and the greenhouse-gas footprint of naturalgas from shale formations, Climate Change, 106, pp. 679-690

Broderick. J., et al: 2011, Shale gas: an updated assessment of environmental and climate change impacts. A report commissioned by The Co-operative and undertaken by researchers at the Tyndall Centre, University of Manchester

Short documentary produced by local internet TV in Nordjylland
[click to view]


Total and Nordsofonden about their shale gas exploration
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Skifergas - Nej Tak!

Shale gas - No Thanks! The main mobilising actor against fracking in Denmark.
[click to view]

The Guardian's special theme on Shalegas and Fracking
[click to view]

Greenpeace Denmark on shale-gas and fracking
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Copenhagen Climate Collective, a Danish environemntal justice organisation with a clear anticapitalist stand against fracking.
[click to view]

Huffington Post special theme on Shale gas and Fracking
[click to view]

Media Links

Short documentary The Sky is Pink by Josh Fox and the Gasland team
[click to view]

Documentary 'Gasland' by Josh Fox, can be streamed and downloaded online or purchased here.
[click to view]

Other CommentsTotal is a multinational whose main office is in Paris, France. The Danish daughter company Total E and P Denmark B.V. has office in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Nordsofonden is a Danish state owned company with office in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Meta Information
ContributorElisabeth Skarðhamar Olsen
Last update05/06/2014