Please zoom in or out and select the base layer according to your preference to make the map ready for printing, then press the Print button above.

Exploratory fracking en ENARA, Spain


On 24/10/2006, the Company Hydrocarbons of Euskadi, SA (SHESA) was granted with a licence for study the feasibility of a proposed fracking for a period of six years through the so-called Enara Licence (BOE 22/12/2005). SHESA is a company of the Basque Energy Organisation (EVE) within the Department of Industry of the Basque Government. The license involves territories in Euskadi and Castilla y León, affecting a total of 140,000 hectares.

This license is effective until 19/06/2014, but explorations have not started so far, in 2013.

In October 2011, after five years of technical studies, the former Basque President Patxi Lopez, during a visit in Texas, announced the existence of large reserves of shale gas in Araba. He also announced the creation of a consortium between the EVE (SHESA, 44%) and other companies with experience in shale gas extraction: Heyco Energy Group companies (36%) and Cambria Europe Inc. (a subsidiary of True Oil, 20%). The consortium would invest 50 million to study the feasibility of the project, and testing would begin in 2012 in 75,852 ha located in Subijana (Vitoria-Gasteiz, Araba, Spain).

Out of 9 exploration-license applications within the ENARA licence, only two (ENARA 16.A, ENARA 16.B, both in Subijana) have been accepted. In both cases, exploratory wells (10/06/2013) have been dug to perform seismic tests to create a map of conventional hydrocarbon location. In principle, they will not be used for fracking exploration and exploitation. However, there is no a guarantee that the research being done under the umbrella of the search for conventional resources will not be used afterwards for extraction of unconventional hydrocarbons.

Numerous associations, owners and social movements have organised themselves against the project through the creation of the 'Frackingezaraba' platform.

Basic Data

Name of conflict:Exploratory fracking en ENARA, Spain
State or province:Vitoria-Gasteiz (Araba/Alaba)
Location of conflict:Subijana
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)

Source of Conflict

Type of conflict. 1st level:Fossil Fuels and Climate Justice/Energy
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Water access rights and entitlements
Pollution related to transport (spills, dust, emissions)
Shale gas fracking
Specific commodities:Natural Gas

Project Details and Actors

Project details

The estimate for Araba encompasses an area of more than 140,000 ha. The project aims to obtain 180 BCM (BCM = one billion m3) throught 2600-3000 wells. They would consume an estimate of 27 million to 113 million m3 of water. The project woudl generate from 4 million to 68 million m3 of waste water containing additives (which counts for ca 2% of the volume). The project planning also entails 75 million truck trips for gas transportation.

The two accepted licences include the following details: The drilling will reach an estimated depth of 4864 meters, crossing the limestones of the Subijana aquifer between 149 and 749 meters.

During the drilling phase, the volume of water required is estimated at 3,300 m3, the consumption of which during a period of over seventy-six days. Once the well is drilled, the stimulation of potential gas reservoirs may require an additional volume of 35,000 m3, The stimulation process may last approximately forty days.

The water supply will be carried out from the Zalla river catchment. This river is included in a Special Areas for the Protection for the Bird Avión zapador (Riparia ripariai) and preferential distribution area for the European Mink (Mustela lutreola).

The project will also involve civil works in the drilling sites, through the setting of well pad with an approximate area of 100 × 100 m, partially covered by a concrete slab where the drilling platform will be supported. A 180-m length pathway to access the platform from the road A-3603 will be opened.

A waterproofed pool (15 × 10 × 2 meters) will be excavated, as well as another pool (also waterproofed) for the managent of the sludge (40 × 10 × 2.5 meters) next to the platform. A fiberglass septic tank, with capacity of 9000 liters) will be installed and also two sinks built for possible spills.

Project area:140,000
Level of Investment:50000000
Type of populationSemi-urban
Start of the conflict:22/12/2005
Company names or state enterprises:Sociedad de Hidrocarburos de Euskadi, S.A. (SHESA) from Spain
Basque Energy Organitation (EVE) from Spain
Heyco Energy Group companies
Cambria Europe Inc. True Oil from United States of America
Spanish Association of Researchers and exploitative Companies Oil (ACIEP) from Spain
Relevant government actors:Industry of the Basque Government, Basque President, Basc Goverment, Basque government and Diputación Foral, Municipality of Vitoria-Gasteiz. Spanish central administration.
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Plataforma Fracking EZ Araba:, There was a manifesto signed by different individuals, political entities, conservation associations and social movements., Acampada Gasteiz, Asociación Visón Europeo, ACOA-AKE, Aralar, Bildu, CCOO, Deshazkundea-Gasteiz, Eguzki, Ekologistak Martxan, ELA, EQUO, Gaden, Grupo Ecologista Gaia, Hala Bedi Irratia, Inmersiones, Izate, Izquierda Unida – Ezker Anitza, LAB, Mendialdetik, STEE-EILAS, UAGA, UGT, SEO/BirdLife, BIZILUR-Lankidetzarako eta Herrien Garapenerako Erakundea, Herriarte/Entrepueblos, SAGARRAK, Gernikako Ekologi Lan-Taldea, LOS VERDES – GRUPO VERDE, Bizkaiko emakume asanblada, KEM-MOC Bilbao, Asociación Fotografía y Biodiversidad, ESK, Greenpeace, Asociación Ikusbide, Euskalerriko Eskautak Araba, Las Trans, ACOVI, AEREN, Errotako gazte asanblada, Azken kolpe kontrakultura elkartea, UPyD, Asociación Otsogorrigaina Mendi Elkartea, Bionekazaritza, Itaya Gazte Asanblada.

Conflict & Mobilization

IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Local government/political parties
Social movements
Trade unions
Wastepickers, recyclers
Recreational users
Local scientists/professionals
Environtalist/conservation organisations
Forms of mobilization:Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of alternative proposals
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Media based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Arguments for the rights of mother nature
Preparation of manifesto, Magazine, blog and web outreach, courses and workshops, demonstrations.


Environmental ImpactsVisible: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Fires, Global warming, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil contamination, Oil spills, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Mine tailing spills
Potential: Noise pollution, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Other Environmental impactsThe potential impact has been assessed according to the effects in other locations (U.S., France, Canada, Great Britain, Holland, Poland, South Africa, Bulgaria)
Health ImpactsVisible: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…)
Potential: Accidents, Occupational disease and accidents, Other environmental related diseases
Other Health impactsUp to 650 different additives, of which not all are known. The Tyndall reveals that there toxic additives, carcinogenic and mutagenic products, plus potential radioactive and Heavy metals, that could bring diseases and serious health problems (cancer, reproductive problems, ...
* potential impact, according to other locations (U.S., France, Canada, Great Britain, Holland, Poland, South Africa, Bulgaria)
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors
Potential: Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Other socio-economic impacts* potential impact, according to other locations (U.S., France, Canada, Great Britain, Holland, Poland, South Africa, Bulgaria)


Project StatusProposed (exploration phase)
Conflict outcome / response:Institutional changes
Court decision (victory for environmental justice)
New legislation
Strengthening of participation
Technical solutions to improve resource supply/quality/distribution
Development of alternatives:The committment to a sustainable energy model, efficient and renewable.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain:The conflict is still latent. The resistance has just begun, so it is still early to assess the degree of success in terms of environmental justice.
What is certain is that, in chase the project is carried out the project, the impacts will be clearly unevenly distributed, while benefits will remain in the hands of a few private companies.
The distribution of impacts (inc. environmental costs) will affect more to people who live closer to the extraction zone, but could also affect people from more remote areas, although the range is still unknown. Moreover, endangered ecosystems and resources for future generations would be seriously threatened.
The greatest danger occurs in the ground water systems. In this respect, the conflict is a matter of environmental justice and even water justice, since the biggest impacts will affect the water cycle. For a broader recognition of pluralistic values in the area, an effective participation would be necessary, together with a governmental turnaround in energy planning. These could involve sustainable and efficient alternatives, such as wind or solar.

Sources & Materials

Related laws and legislations - Juridical texts related to the conflict

Law 34/1998, of October 7, the hydrocarbon sector, mandating the exploration, transportation, distribution and marketing of oil and gas.

Violation of the precautionary principle of the treaty establishing the EU 174.2.

It fulfills the law of environmental impact assessment (RDL 11/01/2008).

It violates the law of natural heritage and biodiversity (24/2007).

It violates the water law (2006) and Water Framework Directive (2000) of the EU.

Other Laws:

Law 22/2011 ground.

Directive 2003/55/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 June 2003 concerning common rules for the internal market in natural gas.

Law 12/2007, dated 2 July, amending Law 34/1998, of October 7, the hydrocarbon sector.

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

Tyndal Inform -Uni. Oxford and Cambrige. ()

The U.S. EPA, in 2010 anunción analyze research that negative impacts of fracking on water quality and public health.

Memory ENARA


European Parliament Report 2011.

French law banning hydraulic fracturing (11/05/2011).

Some states like NY, Maryland and New Jersey have banned it.

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

Fractura Hidraulica NO ()

(Fracking ez Araba)

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Other comments:Petición dirigida al Congreso de los Diputados en Change, STOP FRACKING en España.ña#description

Meta information

Contributor:Lucia Peña Armijo
Last update08/04/2014