The prospects for shale gas production in the European Union appear to be weakening. Bulgaria has become the second EU state after France to ban hydraulic fracturing to extract it from the ground. The environmental movement across Europe is building its campaign against the technology, spreading alarm wherever energy companies express interest in developing a shale play.
In Brussels, many European Parliament and Commission officials are beginning to believe that shale gas may end up like genetically modified organisms (GMOs): something that Americans do but Europeans do not. But the potential economic and geostrategic effects of shale gas are greater than for GMOs. Europe faces significant de-industrialization and loss of economic competitiveness if it does not allow shale gas development to take place. It also risks finding itself in a much weaker geostrategic position with regard to its energy security.
Shale gas is ushering in a major energy revolution on two fronts. First, shale gas is widely distributed across the planet. It undermines entirely the accepted 80:10 ratio of the last 20 years-the expectation that 80% of the world's fossil fuels are found in OPEC countries and Russia, and 10% are found in OECD countries and China. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration's latest survey, there are enormous quantities of recoverable shale gas throughout Europe, China, India, Argentina and the United States. This scale and distribution is likely to result in a surge of gas consumption across the planet, with gas being used wherever possible to replace oil. As a result, much of the world will significantly increase its energy security.
David Fuller's view This article is very much in line with the Fullermoney view. In what I can only describe as green policy madness, much of Europe is currently turning its back on not only shale gas and shale oil, but also nuclear power. Europe is fast becoming a hostage to fortune in terms of its energy import costs. It is also having to use more coal, defeating part of the environmental agenda.Back to top