Recently, BP ruled itself out from drilling shale gas in the UK because it may “attract the wrong kind of public attention” . In 2013 new studies estimated huge shale potential in the United Kingdom, as much as 1,000 trillion cubic feet of shale gas. However, despite the strong push from Prime Minister David Cameron, public aversion for shale exploration keeps growing; and so does Europe’s need to increase its energy independence from Russia.
Today, European gas supplies are threatened by the Crimea crisis, only a couple of years after the 2009 pricing disputes between Ukraine and Russia. The significant shortages that exposed Europe’s vulnerability at the time, led the European Union to seek further supply diversification, e.g. though the development of the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline . Today, Russian imports are down to 30% of its total natural gas consumption , from 40% in 2009. However, countries as Bulgaria, still rely for nearly 90% of their gas consumption on Russia .
Europe possesses enough wet shale gas, about 470 trillion cubic feet, to satisfy decades of demand  according to the EIA . Nevertheless, it remains much more cautious in untapping these resources than the US. Europe not only seeks to balance the implications of shale gas developments on its energy security, but also on its environmental footprint and its economic growth. At the HIS CERAWeek energy conference, the CEO of Siemens, raised his concern that Europe may risk to get “left behind by manufacturers” if it doesn’t produce its shale gas.
DISCUSSION: Is shale gas the answer to Europe’s dependence on Russia and at what cost? What is the price of keeping Europe’s shale gas in the ground?
Written by: Middoni Ramos/ Celine Rottier