Fracking for shale gas has become very common in the USA, but it is beginning to be recognised there that there may be a price to pay in terms of pollution of aquifers and the air, the impact on water supplies, the contribution to climate change etc.

The EU has started to question the advisability of fracking. Jos Delbeke, the European Commission’s Director-General for Climate Action, recently (October 2013) said that drilling companies will have to come up with plans to track methane emissions or face EU legislation forcing them to do so. The European Commission is drawing up a framework law for producing shale gas, expected in late 2013 or early 2014, shaping rules that could make or break the industry in Europe.

Many European countries are also taking a cautious approach. France, Bulgaria, Denmark and the Czech Republic have either banned shale gas exploration or plan to do so, as has Spain’s shale-rich region of Cantabria. In Germany the Federal Government decided to postpone any new federal legislation on hydraulic fracturing until after the Federal Elections on 22 September 2013. Poland’s shale gas reserves are among the largest in Europe and the Polish government wishes to encourage shale gas exploration.

Last updated Dec 2013

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