(EnergyAsia, September 27 2012, Thursday) — Norway’s DNV said it has launched a code of Recommended Practice (RP) to assess and manage risks involved in the entire life cycle of shale gas extraction.

It said the code provides an independent reference document that hopefully could become the basis for a globally recognised standard for safe and sustainable shale gas extraction.

The DNV Recommended Practice code focuses on management systems, safety, health and environmental issues, well integrity, management of water and energy, infrastructure and logistics, public engagement, stakeholder communication, and permits. The company said it developed the practices in consultation with European and US authorities, oil and gas companies, industry bodies and non-governmental organisations.

“The overall objective of this Recommended Practice is to establish guidelines and recommendations for the processes required to protect the safety of people and the environment during all phases of shale gas field development and operations,” said Remi Eriksen, CEO of DNV Maritime and Oil & Gas.

The company further recommends that shale gas operations are monitored and publicly reported. This will establish proper points of reference and consistent monitoring prior to, during and after operations.

The information gathered should be openly disclosed to all stakeholders, including the general public.

“There is great public concern about the consequences of shale gas operations. Our recommended practice will contribute to increase the trust and confidence among the general public by implementing operational best practices and making the industry document how its activities are being executed in a safe and responsible manner,” said Mr Eriksen.

Shale gas is a potential game changer in the global energy market. The North American shale gas revolution has made shale gas an increasingly important source of natural gas and awoken other potential shale gas nations across the globe, including the UK, Poland and China.

At the same time, the industry is confronted with challenges in managing safety, health and environmental risks associated with shale gas extraction, necessitating the establishment of a global standard for safe and sustainable practices.

While several stakeholders have developed documents and guidelines covering parts of the activities involved, DNV said a complete risk management framework has been lacking until now.

DNV is inviting representatives from industry and regulators to provide feedback and discussion on the first version of the Recommended Practice code with the aim of transforming it into a new international standard.