Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Shale Gas and Europe: The Answer to Europe's Energy Security Issues?

Europe faces a very uncertain future when it comes to energy security. This state of affairs is underscored by the fact that much natural gas that is burned in Europe to power electricity generation currently comes from Russia.

This hardly thrills the European Union's policy makers in Brussels (although it probably does thrill officials at Gazprom in Moscow).

A new policy briefing by the influential Centre for European Reform (CER) provides a timely look at whether unconventional gas (UC) -- shale gas as it is often referred to in North America -- located in Europe offers a bit of a solution. In "Shale Gas and EU Energy Security" (June 11, 2010), the London-based CER considers the issue and provides an excellent overview of the differences between potential unconventional gas development in Europe and what is currently going on in the U.S.

However, the briefing concludes with a cautionary comment about the potential for UC in Europe:
"'In Europe, unconventional gas is not a game changer,' concludes one executive of a big EU gas company. UG will most likely develop in Europe, but a repeat of the US shale gas boom is doubtful."

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