Nowadays most experts agree that we cannot live on fossil fuels forever. But renewable energy coming from the four earth elements has still not proven to be a reliable and sustainable alternative to fossil fuels.
The race is thus on for so called unconventional fossil fuels such as shale gas.
Its exploitation has been until now an exclusively US phenomenon. The remarkable success of producing gas from the Barnett Shale in Texas has heralded an intense exploration of other US basins. The success also led energy companies to consider opportunities abroad. As a result, “Europe awaits a shale-gas revolution” was the headline in the magazine Petroleum Economist in December 2009. In April 2011, Time magazine speculated on its front page that ‘This rock could power the world’.
But the picture is not all rosy. Videos of gas instead of drinking water coming out of American household taps have now reached Europe too.
The debate is now open: can shale gas be the solution to sustain European energy supply, but without harming people and the environment?
In this report, we will see how different lobbies try to influence EU (non-) legislation and regulation in the matter. In the first part, we explain the idea of shale gas as a new energy source for Europe. Chapter two gives a concise overview of what has already happened within the EU institutions regarding possible European shale gas exploration and production. The third and the fourth chapters show and analyse the different actors involved in influencing the EU on this matter. In chapter five we give some recommendations for companies that want to influence the future of shale gas in the EU.
For this paper, different media sources, as well as academic papers and books were used. We have done interviews with assistants of MEP’s and members of involved (lobby) organisations.