News / Europe

    Europe Considers Fracking to Cut Russian Gas Imports

    Police officers work to remove protesters who had chained themselves to a homemade coffin close to the entrance of the IGas exploratory gas drilling site at Barton Moss, near Manchester, northern England, March 6, 2014
    Police officers work to remove protesters who had chained themselves to a homemade coffin close to the entrance of the IGas exploratory gas drilling site at Barton Moss, near Manchester, northern England, March 6, 2014
    Ana Hontz-Ward

    The political crisis in Ukraine, including its dispute with Moscow over the flow of Russian natural gas, has forced many European nations to reconsider their reliance on Russia for energy. Some nations are looking at new options for extracting natural gas at home, including the controversial process of hydraulic fracking.

    Although much of Europe is dependent on Russian energy imports, the continent is believed to be sitting on 13 trillion cubic meters of shale gas, a significant reserve.

    France, Poland and Ukraine share the largest amounts of shale gas, but reserves have been found in Romania, Bulgaria and the United Kingdom.

    The presence of large shale gas reserves and the current crisis in Ukraine have sharpened the focus on Europe’s shale gas potential, according to Lucia Seybert, at the Wilson Center in Washington.

    “With energy security it’s not just a matter of supply, it’s also a question of reliability. And one thing this thing may do, what might happen is, it may expedite some of these explorations of shale gas within the European Union,” Seybert said.

    Still, Europe is believed to be years away from commercially exploiting shale gas. Poland, the United Kingdom and Romania are the farthest along - and expect to start exploration by 2020.

    But extracting shale gas - using a technique called hydraulic fracking, is controversial. Most drilling sites in Europe are near populated areas and environmental groups have raised concerns about water and air pollution.

    There also are political issues. European taxes on the industry and strict regulations create a challenge for extraction companies.

    “It is much more complex extracting the gas in places like Poland and Central Europe than it is in the U.S. So we really need to better understand how much is there and how easily we can actually get it out of the ground,” said Eric Stewart, president of the Romanian-American and Polish-American Business Councils.

    Energy companies also must battle a strong environmental movement and public opposition.

    The process can help meet Europe’s energy needs if it complements conventional and renewable sources of energy like solar and wind, said
    Keith Smith, a former U.S. ambassador to Lithuania, now a fellow at the Center for European Policy Analysis and an expert on fracking technology.

    “I think hydraulic fracturing is one element that can help bring energy security to Europe, but it will take a long time. I think it can happen but it’s only one factor. There are a lot of other things that need to be done," he said.

    Much of Europe’s gas flows through a pipeline that runs from Russia across Ukraine. But Ukraine has had trouble paying its gas bill to Russia’s Gazprom energy company. And earlier this year, Ukrainian protesters ousted the country’s pro-Russia president. The new government has signed economic agreements with the European Union, over Moscow’s objections. Moscow has signaled it may cut off gas to Kyiv, and thus to much of Europe.

    With winter approaching, the current dispute looks similar to the crisis in 2009, when Russia stopped the natural gas flow to Europe in January, leaving millions of homes and businesses in the cold.

    "The European Union has got burned - or, frozen, I should say - with the 2009 crisis so they really worked hard to prevent something like that from reccurring, and there has been much talk about the interconnection of pipelines, alternative sources and reverse flow mechanism, so we will see,” Seybert said.

    Shale gas exploration will not achieve complete energy independence from Russian imports, but will lessen that dependence long-term.

    That would be beneficial for both Europe and Russia, a country that needs a more diversified economy and less dependence on energy exports, she said.

    You May Like

    Video Democrats Clinton, Kaine Offer 'Very Different Vision' Than Trump

    In a jab at Trump, Clinton says her team wants to 'build bridges, not walls'; Obama Hails Kaine's record; Trump calls Kaine a 'job-killer'

    Turkey Wants Pakistan to Close Down institutions, Businesses Linked to Gulen

    Thousands of Pakistani students are enrolled in Gulen's commercial network of around two dozen institutions operating in Pakistan for over two decades

    AU Passport A Work in Progress

    Who will get the passport and what the benefits are still need to be worked out

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    X
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora