Ev­ery year about 1.7 mil­lion tonnes of oil, or one third of the oil used in the coun­try, is pro­duced in Be­larus

Economy of Belarus - - QUESTIONS TO THE MINISTER -

To­day, many coun­tries have been ac­tively work­ing on the tech­nolo­gies for ex­tract­ing shale gas, which they say could be the en­ergy so­lu­tion in the fu­ture. Is Be­larus con­sid­er­ing pro­duc­ing gas from shale?

In 2012, in ac­cor­dance with the in­struc­tions of the head of state and the Prime Min­is­ter of Be­larus to as­sess the prospects of dis­cov­er­ing shale gas de­posits in our coun­try, we es­tab­lished a group of ex­perts. Its mem­bers are spe­cial­ists of the Min­istry of Nat­u­ral Re­sources and En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion, Na­tional Academy of Sciences of Be­larus, Bel­neftekhim Con­cern, and Rus­sian ex­perts with sur­vey­ing ex­pe­ri­ence in shale gas. In Jan­uary-Fe­bru­ary 2012, the group con­ducted an ex­press-anal­y­sis of the pos­si­ble dis­cov­ery of shale gas de­posits in the ter­ri­tory of the Repub­lic of Be­larus. As a re­sult, they se­lected eight promis­ing sites: three in Brest Oblast within the basins of the Pod­laskaBrest cav­ity and five in Gomel Oblast within the Pripyat Trough.

The fea­si­bil­ity of devel­op­ment of shale gas de­posits will be de­ter­mined based on the re­sults of the ge­o­log­i­cal sur­vey. But I want to say that not ev­ery­thing is sim­ple with this raw ma­te­rial. Its in­dus­trial pro­duc­tion in­volves sig­nif­i­cant en­vi­ron­men­tal risks.

It is com­mon knowl­edge that in the present-day world the sus­tain­able devel­op­ment of a coun­try de­pends not only on a wellde­vel­oped in­dus­trial com­plex but also on the con­ser­va­tion of nat­u­ral re­sources and a fa­vor­able eco­log­i­cal en­vi­ron­ment. Which ar­eas in this re­gard do you be­lieve to be of top pri­or­ity for Be­larus? Which en­vi­ron­men­tal projects is our coun­try part of, how ef­fi­cient are they?

Be­larus’ so­cioe­co­nomic devel­op­ment pro­gram for 2011-2015 out­lines the main goal of the na­tional en­vi­ron­men­tal pol­icy, i.e. en­vi­ron­men­tal en­hance­ment and safety, ef­fi­cient use of nat­u­ral re­sources, main­te­nance of nat­u­ral in­tegrity, in­clud­ing unique nat­u­ral com­plexes.

As for the main com­po­nents of the en­vi­ron­ment – sub­soil as­sets, air (in­clud­ing cli­mate), water, soil, bio­di­ver­sity, spe­cially pro­tected nat­u­ral sites, the pro­gram de­scribes the top pri­or­i­ties at the na­tional level, rel­e­vant events and a mech­a­nism of their im­ple­men­ta­tion.

Apart from the ma­jor en­vi­ron­men­tal doc­u­ment, the coun­try is im­ple­ment­ing a whole ar­ray of gov­ern­men­tal, na­tional, sec­toral and re­gional pro­grams and de­vel­op­ing strate­gic long-term doc­u­ments.

In par­tic­u­lar, the Min­istry of Nat­u­ral Re­sources and En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion acts as a state cus­tomer of a whole bunch of such doc­u­ments, in­clud­ing the pro­grams on de­vel­op­ing de­posits and raw-ma­te­ri­als in the Repub­lic of Be­larus in 2011-2015, government pro­grams on se­cur­ing the op­er­a­tion and devel­op­ment of Be­larus’ na­tional en­vi­ron­men­tal mon­i­tor­ing sys­tem for 2008-2014, a branch­wise pro­gram on de­vel­op­ing the state hy­drom­e­te­o­ro­log­i­cal ser­vices for 2011-2015.

Be­larus is tak­ing part in the pro­gram “Mon­i­tor­ing of the Earth’s Po­lar Ar­eas and Sup­port of Arc­tic and Antarc­tic Ex­pe­di­tions 2011-2015” as well as the na­tional ac­tion plan to ful­fill Be­larus’ com­mit­ments to the pro­vi­sions of the Stock­holm Con­ven­tion on Per­sis­tent Or­ganic Pol­lu­tants (POPs) in 2011-2015.

Spe­cial­ists of the Min­istry of Nat­u­ral Re­sources and En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion take an ac­tive part in the prepa­ra­tion of the coun­try’s strate­gic en­vi­ron­men­tal doc­u­ments. Among them is the Water Strat­egy of the Repub­lic of Be­larus for the pe­riod up to 2025, the strat­egy on the preser­va­tion and sus­tain­able use of bio­di­ver­sity for 2011-2020, a strat­egy for the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the UN Con­ven­tion to Com­bat De­ser­ti­fi­ca­tion.

The min­istry at­taches ut­most at­ten­tion to ex­pan­sion and en­hance­ment of in­ter­na­tional tech­ni­cal co­op­er­a­tion. For­eign tech­ni­cal aid is viewed as an ad­di­tional source and one of the in­stru­ments to im­prove en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion and ra­tio­nal na­ture man­age­ment.

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