Email of the day (1)
Comment of the Day

April 13 2011

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Email of the day (1)

on the future of shale gas in Europe:
"Shale gas might become banned in France. The parliament will discuss it on May 10. But according to some articles (link below), it could also help France protect the nuclear players…Will we go towards a nuclear Europe and a "shale gas" America?"

Eoin Treacy's view Thank you for these interesting links. Drilling for unconventional oil and gas deposits was always going to be more problematic in densely populated and more tightly regulated Europe than in the USA. Well publicized fears over the effects on ground water of hydraulic fracturing will need to be allayed if the exploitation of unconventional reserves is to fulfil its long-term potential.

France produces 88% of its electricity from nuclear and hydro so to an extent it can afford to forego exploring for domestic hydro carbons in politically sensitive areas. (Australian listed European Gas which was drilling in France appears to have been a victim of this embargo and the share has been suspended). France has embraced the nuclear industry like no other. It is unlikely that any other European country will mirror its commitment to the sector.

Other countries simply do not have that luxury of ignoring vast energy resources. New York State appears to be on the cusp of lifting a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing. Poland and Ukraine remain the most likely European countries where shale gas production will prosper in Europe. This is fuelled by a desire to be independent of Russian supply. This article from the Warsaw Business Journal may be of interest. Here is a section:

Nonetheless, the EIA's report places Poland as a clear leader when it comes to shale gas reserves in Europe, with only France estimated to possess similar levels.

And given Poland's concerns regarding energy security (it is currently dependent on Russian gas) and public opinion's generally positive view of mining, the country has a much friendlier social and political environment for the development of the shale gas industry, noted Ernest Wyciszkiewicz, an economic relations and energy security expert at the Polish Institute of International Affairs (PISM).

"Undertakings relative to shale gas in Europe are still quite risky, and any kind of news that the potential shale reserves are bigger than expected is great news for investors, as well as for the Polish administration and policymakers," said Mr. Wyciszkiewicz.

PGNiG is the Polish monopoly gas driller. It has been forming a base since mid 2008 and will need to sustain a move above PLN4 to indicate a return to medium-term demand dominance. It is currently drilling wells for Canadian and US listed Talisman Energy which has outperformed by a considerable margin. Talisman retested its 2008 peak in late February and has been ranging below $25 since. A sustained move below the 200-day MA, currently near $21 would be required to question medium-term upside potential.

Most companies with an interest in shale gas have performed well over the last three months. They almost all appear to be in the process of unwinding short-term overbought conditions but would need to sustain moves below their respective 200-day MAs to question the consistency of their medium-term uptrends. This Chart Library Performance Filter contains 12 such companies.

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