At 2nd IEA Unconventional Gas Forum, a focus on the best and safest use of water

25 March 2014

More than 100 officials from the public and private sectors are gathering this week in Canada for the International Energy Agency’s second Unconventional Gas Forum, where they will share best practices to minimise water use and to protect water resources from risk of contamination during unconventional gas production.

Scores of stakeholders from more than 25 IEA member and non-member countries are taking part in a site visit and discussions on unconventional gas production that will also address community relations, policy development and regulation.

The magnitude of water use in unconventional gas production as well as the treatment and disposal of wastewater and the risk of hydrocarbon or chemical leaks have generated considerable public concern. The IEA made sound management of water resources a core element of its World Energy Outlook 2012 special report “Golden Rules for a Golden Age of Gas”.

The forum, hosted by Natural Resources Canada, begins on 25 March with an all-day site visit to hydraulic fracturing gas operations in Canada’s Montney shale formation. The following day, IEA Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven (by video address) and Chief Economist Fatih Birol open meetings in Calgary on the role and use of water in unconventional gas production from regulatory and industry perspectives. The third day focuses on unconventional gas in Canada.

The IEA Unconventional Gas Forum is an invitation-only meeting and operates under the Chatham House Rule, which allows use of information shared at the meetings but prohibits identifying the source or his or her affiliation.

The IEA created the Unconventional Gas Forum to help decision makers make informed choices on best practices and regulations to secure the economic, security and other benefits of increased unconventional gas output. The inaugural meeting, held at the IEA headquarters in Paris in 2013, drew more than 100 high-level representatives, including from governments, international organisations, industry and NGOs.