EU Looking Favorably on Shale Gas Development
The EU’s chief scientific advisor has said that evidence allows the go-ahead for extracting shale gas, the energy source at the centre of a European policy tug-of-war.
The EU executive launched a green paper on 27 March, setting out Europe's energy and climate aims for 2030, with Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger taking a favourable position on shale gas.
"I am in favour of producing shale gas, particularly for safety reasons, and to reduce gas prices," he said. "In the United States, which is a big producer of shale gas, the price of gas is four times less than in Europe."
Shale gas has triggered an industrial revival in the United States, which the International Energy Agency expects to become almost self-sufficient in oil and gas by 2035.
But crippling production costs, exploration closures, and government-level environmental concerns have seen the industry's expansion in Europe waver.
Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard has adopted a less favourable tone on shale gas, believing its extraction in Europe bears little comparison with the United States.
"We do not expect that it will be so easy in Europe: geological conditions are different, and so are environmental rules and the activity of soils," she told reporters at the launch of the Commission green paper last month.
Drilling rig photo via Shutterstock.
Read more at EurActiv.