Denmark wants to explore for more oil and gas in the subsoil both onshore and offshore in order to maintain self-sufficiency. As part of this policy, the Danish State - represented by Nordsøfonden - and Total E&P Denmark B.V., an affiliate of the international energy company Total, have started joint activities to investigate whether natural gas is present in shale formations onshore in Denmark and whether it can be produced in an environmentally and commercially acceptable manner. If confirmed, such a production could be a substantial source for future Danish energy supply.
In 2010 Total E&P Denmark B.V., an affiliate of the international energy company Total, and the new Danish state-owned oil and gas company Nordsøfonden were granted two onshore licences to explore for subsurface oil and gas in Denmark within the framework of the open-door exploration and production licence agreement. These licences were granted in exchange for a joint commitment to the Danish Ministry of Climate and Energy to conduct a minimum amount of studies and operations.
Denmark needs to find new oil and gas reserves within the next decade in order to maintain its energy self-sufficiency. Exploration for natural gas in shale formations - referred to as shale gas - may be the starting point of a new major Danish energy resource development.
All recent international studies indicate that substantial shale gas resources exist across the world. Along with other resources such as tight gas
and coal-bed methane
, unconventional gas resources could equal the figures for conventional gas resources. A 2011 study by the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) lists Denmark among those European countries with significant potential.