Lorries are used to pump 'frack fluid' into wells at a hydraulic fracturing site.
EU Commissioner for Energy Gúnther Oettinger has informed Fianna Fáil Senator Paschal Mooney that no decisions should be taken on hydraulic fracturing or "fracking" for 10 years. He was responding to questions from Senator Mooney during a visit to Ireland last week.
Speaking at the Oireachtas Committee on Transport, Energy and Communications, Commissioner Gúnther Oettinger told Senator Mooney that he believed no decisions should be taken until the environmental impact of fracking was established and that could take between five and 10 years.
He also confirmed that he is already in discussions with scientists and technical experts, and is in discussions with the Polish Government where fracking has already commenced.
The Commissioner also revealed to Senator Mooney that the extraction of shale gas could be chemical free in a number of years and that he intended to visit the United States next spring to see at first-hand how shale gas is extracted.
"I welcome this recognition by EU Energy Commissioner of the sensitivities involved over this controversial process," said Senator Mooney.
"The Commissioner is obviously aware of the adverse environmental impact of current practices associated with the extraction of shale gas. The Commissioner is proceeding cautiously before coming to any conclusions. I am delighted that the person charged with Energy Policy in the European Union is consulting widely with the scientific technical and political community as part of an on-going process. I am now confident that he will not rush into decisions that would harm the environment as a result of the fracking process," the Leitrim Senator said.