Economic impacts of shale-gas recovery in the Noordoostpolder

At the request of Tegengas, a consortium of industries and private citizens in the Dutch Noordoostpolder, CE Delft has reviewed the potential regional economic effects of shale-gas recovery there, focusing specifically on the following issues:

  • impacts on the value of real estate
  • impacts on tourism
  • impacts on the agricultural sector
  • impacts on infrastructure and management of damages.

Impacts were estimated for three scenarios: no shale-gas recovery, trial drilling only, with no follow-up, and commercial shale-gas recovery. For the third scenario the illustrative example in the Strategic Impact Assessment was translated to hypothetical shale-gas recovery in the Noordoostpolder. To estimate the impacts of these three cases, use was made of the available literature on the economic impacts of shale-gas extraction, fifteen interviews with representatives of the Noordoostpolder agricultural, tourism and real-estate sectors, and an online survey of parties in the regional agricultural supply chain.

The study indicates economic impacts ranging from modest to substantial. Because there is as yet no shale-gas recovery in Europe, the results are only approximate, however, with considerable ranges of uncertainty. In the low estimate the damage resulting from commercial recovery amounts to several million euro annually, running to several hundred million in the high estimate. Even with only trial drilling, damage is possible. The estimates give no consideration to indirect impacts. For lack of information, impacts on transport infrastructure were not quantified.