“The shale gas revolution is not feasible,” headlines Dutch financial daily Het Financieele Dagblad, following the March 27 meeting of European Union environment and climate ministers.
According to the newspaper, EU Commissioner for Climate, Connie Hedegaard, and the Commissioner for Energy, Günther Oettinger, sought to dampen the enthusiasm of some member states that aim to exploit shale gas reserves, which are thought to be considerable in Europe.
While some countries such as France and Belgium have imposed a moratorium, others such as the United Kingdom and Poland have already begun exploratory drilling. The newspaper notes that the EU Commission plans to establish a political framework, at the latest by the end of the year, which will regulate shale gas extraction in those member states wishing to take advantage of their reserves.
Shale gas extraction is “controversial” because of its negative environmental impact, explains the newspaper, which goes on to quote Commissioner Hedegaard, who says —
We should not fool ourselves. This is not going to be as cheap as in the US. […] We don’t have the same wide open spaces. We pay more attention to what local people think.
In addition, compared with the United States, where the price of gas is five times cheaper, Europe has stricter environmental legislation and the geological formations are different, which is why —
experts, including, among others, the International Energy Agency, have advised the EU against relying solely on shale gas.