Russian Gas -vs-Unconventional Gas: Which will the EU Choose?

The US Energy Information Administration published a study of 48 shale gas basins in 32 countries that estimated that the EU has a technically recoverable resource potential for unconventional natural gas of 624 trillion cubic feet compared with 862 tcf in the US.  That estimate is substantially larger than previously thought and represents about 60 years of gas supply at the EU’s 2030 consumption rate.

What’s not to like about that!

Apparently, the report is producing a mixed response across the EU ranging from disbelief to concerns that drilling for unconventional gas using hydraulic fracturing will contaminate groundwater supplies. Poland and France are the big winners in the unconventional gas lottery with an estimated recoverable potential of 187 tcf and 180 tcf respectively.  Germany, on the other hand, has an estimated 8 tcf and the UK has 20 tcf of unconventional gas resources.

Surprisingly, Jean-François Cirelli, President of Eurogas as well as President of GDF-Suez the large French natural gas company told European Energy Review that he does not expect unconventional gas to have the same market impact in Europe that it has in the US because of the EU’s more restrictive environmental laws in Europe. He also said that Europe does not need unconventional gas as long as it has confidence in Russia as a reliable source of affordable gas supplies.


Think about that, the Europeans would rather be dependent upon Russia despite its propensity to shut off the gas if some nation crosses it than develop its own substantial unconventional natural gas resources because there may be environmental objections to the hydraulic fracturing methods used to get it. Now this may be politics.  After all, no one in Europe wants to irritate the Russian Bear so Cirelli is making “nice” with his major supplier.  Germany the big defender of Russian influence apparently feels it has little to gain from unconventional supplies so it too must stick with Russian gas.  But for Poland and some of the other Eastern European it is a very different calculus.  Poland consumes about .58 tcf per year of natural gas but has recoverable unconventional reserves of 187 tcf of supply and the ability to end its dependence on Russia for 322 years!

The EU lives in this fantasyland where the US defends its and Russia supplies it with natural gas and Libya with oil.  Its economic well being depends upon a world of perfect harmony and it seems clueless about the risks its takes without blinking.

I just don’t get it!



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s