Despite diplomacy and threats of sanctions from the West, Russia is moving forward on Tuesday with plans to annex Crimea after a referendum on Sunday that was boycotted by the opposition. In this context, some are saying that Europe needs to rethink policies on hydraulic fracturing, lifting bans and regulations.
Europe is highly dependent on natural gas from Europe, most of which flows through Ukraine. Because of rising tensions between Ukraine and Russia over the past few years, tensions that have reached a crisis point since Ukraine ousted former President Yanukovych, Europe’s “energy security” concerns are whether Russia will, again, shut off natural gas supplies.
To address Europe’s energy security concern, Europe and the US have for years looking for new natural gas sources for Europe, preferably ones not outside Russia. Potential new sources include Libya, Egypt, and using fracking to extract natural gas from shale deposits across Europe.
Last week the European Union Parliament adopted legislation to ensure environmental impact assessments (EIAs) take better account of biodiversity and climate change. Fracking was excluded from the new regulations. The EU Parliament was willing to include shale fracking in the regulations, but intense lobbying in December led to a compromise excluding fracking.
Poland, also last week, offered six years of tax breaks to fracking operations. Previously, western oil companies like Marathon Oil and ExxonMobil had begun exploratory fracking in Poland, only to stop when the country moved to increase taxes. The deal says that Poland may, after 2020, begin taxing fracked natural gas, but would refrain from doing so until then.
“The current Ukraine-Russia situation could spur European countries to increase their fracking efforts,” Michael Peterson, managing director, energy research, of MLV & Co., said. “Although the political clout of the green/environmental parties in Europe is likely to remain formidable, even in the face of harsh economic reality, longer-term, escalation could motivate incremental/accelerated exploration for alternative natural gas sources.”
Some in Europe are hoping to speed up adoption of fracking, exploiting shale gas deposits to produce more natural gas. In addition to the energy security concerns, Europe is seeking to wean itself from coal, and decarbonize its energy mix in the face of climate change threats.
Natural gas is still a fossil fuel, and burning natural gas still contributes to climate change. Moves to increase the adoption of fracking will only worsen climate change conditions. According to an IPCC report leaked yesterday, climate change should cause food shortages and increasing violent conflict or war around the world over the next several decades.
- Amazon investing in Rivian, GM possibly to follow - February 15, 2019
- Pres. Trump selling Paradise to coal baron who donated money to his campaign - February 13, 2019
- GM, Amazon, looking to invest in Rivian, no sign of GM/Tesla EV truck joint venture - February 12, 2019
- Tesla’s goals may require rumored joint venture with GM on electric pickup truck - February 12, 2019
- Green New Deal outline proposed in US Congress - February 7, 2019
- Nissan delays 60 kiloWatt-hour Leaf, but moves forward with EV energy ecosystem plans - November 28, 2018
- Rivian unveils an all-electric pickup truck for the “adventure vehicle” market - November 27, 2018
- GM cancels Chevy Volt production while Tesla Model 3 sales go through the roof - November 26, 2018
- American climate refugees living in tents and cars after Paradise destroyed by fire - November 21, 2018
- Ghosn to be kicked out of Nissan, arrested for securities/compensation fraud - November 19, 2018