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ANDALUCÍA A study by the Consejo Superior de Ingenieros de Minas (Superior Council of Mining Engineers) says that 40% of Spain's non-conventional gas is likely to be found in Andalucía, some 48 trillion cubic metres and enough to supply the country for 39 years. These are estimates that must be corroborated by more specific analyses, says the report. The best sites, according to Professor Ángel Cámara, who headed the study, are the Guadalquivir Valley, the old coal mining area of the Guadiato, Villanueva del Río and Minas, as well as the southern part of the province of Cádiz. However, environmentalists warn that the extraction system known as fracking, is controversial, to say the least.>>>
Fracking consists of injecting sand, water and other fluids such as hydrochloric acid at very high pressure -99.5%- into rocks between 2,000 and 6,000 metres underground. The practice is widespread in the USA, where it is estimated that between 1,000 and 3,000 cubic metres is used at each of thousands of sites.
Profesor Cámara points out that Andalucía contains the only natural (i.e. conventional) gas deposits in Spain, which produce a mere 0.2% of national needs; the rest has to be imported - done almost exclusively through Andalucía. Non-conventional exploitation is therefore of interest to a number of companies.
Although there are no official permits for actual fracking, there are presently 14 licenses issued by the State for exploration in Huelva, Sevilla and Córdoba. Furthermore, there are other licenses for pre-exploration in the provinces of Málaga, Cádiz, Sevilla and Huelva.
The Junta de Andalucía, for its part, has issued four investigation licenses in Jaén, Cádiz and Sevilla and has received 15 requests for permits in Sevilla, Córdoba and Jaén. So far.