Dump fracking or integrate it?

By Colin Ricketts - 13 Feb 2014 15:6:20 GMT
Dump fracking or integrate it?

The largest demonstration in US history took place in 2013 as the Keystone pipeline from Canada created angry reactions here in Washington; Climate protest image; Credit: © Shutterstock

That the US will not benefit long-term from shale oil and gas and Europe will never see any advantage is a bold statement. With all the industry hype and the political need to keep oil prices down, the opposite bias may be present in a French think tank. The news was shown on Expatica.

However the IDDRI (Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations) is publishing its totally independent paper at a time when the whole of North America has grown sick of pollution, pipelines and poor politics. The UK has frightened the fracking exponent, Cuadrilla, with southern reactions to its fracking of Balcombe (and a lack of drilling results, apparently) after it put holes in Lancashire with slightly less fuss. France itself, and Germany have banned fracking completely, which makes the europolitik very complicated, but this report may or may not reflect French views overall.

The report begins with a note that it’s mainly local economies in the US that have benefited, leaving a minimal impact on macro-economic growth. “A sharp fall in gas prices that has benefited consumers is unlikely to be sustained, and for the foreseeable future, the United States will remain a big importer of crude oil,” provides a biting conclusion for North American fossil fuel enthusiasts.

The shale revolution was scaled up slowly between 2000 and 2010 with 17,268b wells while Europe await a similar situation with trepidation, having drilled only 50 exploratory wells so far. Europe can only expect 3-10% of its energy needs from shale by 2030/2035 according to the model used by the think tank.

It’s opinions are likely to be "carbon-neutral" in some ways at least, according to another conclusion that, “the EU needs a holistic strategy combining energy efficiency, eco-innovation, low-carbon energy sources and a stronger, more integrated internal market. Shale gas could be a complement to this, in so far as it could contribute to a more liquid, resilient internal gas market, particularly in those member states currently highly dependent on polluting coal or Russian gas.”

In other words, politics still rules, but the good of future industry, our health and our economies has to be taken into account. The Green Revolution may have worked into the mainstream, at least for Europe. In case of need, we have a good selection of opinions and reports on fracking we’ve lumped together as a Selection of Fracking Reports.