What’s behind Europe’s decision to back away from hydraulic fracturing? NATO claims that it’s all part of an elaborate plot to increase Europe’s dependence on Russian gas.
Worker with state-of-the art equipment of a shale gas rig of the Canadian-based Talisman Energy Inc. that is exploring for the fossil fuel in the middle of muddy fields in in central Poland. Photo: AP
Barbara Hendricks, Germany’s Minister for the Environment, said at a news conference this month that new legislation aimed at regulating shale gas production would result in the “strictest regulations we have ever set.”
That’s a bad omen for at least one person: NATO General Secretary Anders Fogh Rasmussen, who accused Russian special services of covertly funding environmentalists to discredit fracking, a method of gas extracting that involves blasting dense shale rocks with a high-pressure mixture of water, sand and chemicals to release the tiny bubbles of natural gas trapped within.
“I have met allies who can report that Russia, as part of that country’s sophisticated information and disinformation operations, has engaged actively with so-called non-governmental organizations – environmental organizations working against shale gas – to maintain European dependence on imported Russian gas,” Rasmussen told the Chatham House think tank in London in June.
In reality, all of the new anti-Russian statements that have been pronounced lately most likely carry purely economic implications and are based on the increasing competition in the European oil and gas supplies and services markets. The shale revolution, which occurred quite a long time ago, has allowed the U.S. to switch from being a net importer of natural gas to being a supplier of natural gas to other countries.
Not so long ago, there was even a U.S. announcement about the lifting of the ban on the supply of crude oil, which has been in place for some forty years already. This contributed, too, to the breakthrough in the production of alternative sources of oil in the United States.