News from the EU, Germany and Ireland, all positive for shale. The big story is EU regulation. There are two types of shale opponent in Europe: Environmentalists who make all the noise, and vested interests who have all the money - and see shale as helping them lose it.Think coal, nuclear, CCS, gas storage, Nabucco, Russia, Centrica, GDF Suez etc etc. They can't really oppose an energy source, but they sure wish it would simply go away. And as a general rule the best way to kick a problem into touch in Europe is to say it's an issue, send it to Brussels and blame them. But the bureaucrats aren't playing:
The European Union has adequate legislation to protect the environment as companies including Chevron Corp. explore for shale gas in several member states, a study commissioned by the EU regulatory arm showed.
“The legal study confirms that there is no immediate need for changing our EU legislation,” EU Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger said in a statement published today. “This refers to the actual phase of exploration. We take environmental concerns seriously and will continue to monitor the development of shale gas extraction in the EU.”
“At the moment where the project is still small scale and thus easy ‘reversible,’ consultation of the concerned public is not necessarily foreseen and hence has no say in the decision to allow/refuse its start,” Philippe & Partners said in the study. “It is exactly at this stage that public participation is required the most.”
While drilling to explore for shale gas continues in Europe, its extraction potential is still uncertain. Exxon Mobil Corp., the world’s biggest oil company, said in November that the region was in the “infancy” of shale gas development and urged optimists to temper expectations.
Speaking of ExxonMobil, they have been very quiet yet very active in Northern Germany, on what is rumoured to be a potentially large oil play as well as very well placed shale gas play. But today they speak to the optimists:
U.S. ExxonMobil will continue to push for unconventional gas exploration in Germany alongside conventional gas production, despite scepticism over new drilling methods, its Europe chief said on Friday.
"(Germany) is most definitely an interesting market. We cannot achieve the energy strategy shift without gas," Gernot Kalkoffen, Exxon Mobil Central Europe head, said in an interview with the Handelsblatt business daily.
"The gas infrastructure is good and gas is in demand in Germany," he added.
Demand is not so big, and infrastructure in short supply in Ireland. But I think Ireland could be a surprise. Much has been made lately of local defeats of shale at the county council level. But in the big city at the national level, the government, faced with battles from the bond market vigilantes is going to be much more realistic:
Opponents of fracking last night reacted with dismay to comments by Fergus O’Dowd, Minister of State at the Department of the Environment, in the Dáil. He said if there was a chance that billions of euro in untapped gas could provide a massive economic boost, the Government must take account of that.
Róisín Ní Ghairbhith, spokeswoman for Clare Fracking Concerned, said: “We are dismayed by what the Minister has had to say. We have little faith that Government will address the concerns of communities where fracking is proposed.”
Surely a key concern of the community should be the country is broke but continually told there is no alternative?