Europe's fracking phobia has made it vulnerable to despots like Putin

Arthur Herman:

According to our Energy Information Administration, Europe sits on reserves equaling 639 trillion cubic feet of gas — roughly equal to half of Russia’s reserves (the world’s largest) and more than enough to make Europe independent of Putin and Gazprom.

But that tapping those reserves means embracing fracking, the technology that has revolutionized the US energy industry by unlocking vast amounts of shale gas and oil.

Like environmentalists here, Europe’s greens have made fracking a dirty word — and the European fanatics have more political clout.

For example, Exxon Mobil began fracking to harvest natural gas in Germany in 2008 — but had to stop when the government issued a moratorium. France has banned fracking outright. The United Kingdom has proven gas reserves of 200 trillion cubic feet in Lancashire alone — but with even the Cameron government pushing, it may be years before permits to drill get granted.

This is insanity in action. Every government in Europe knows fracking would produce enormous government revenues, create tens of thousands of jobs, reduce natural-gas prices there to something approaching the price here (which is about a quarter of what Germans or Italians pay), all while using the same technology that for 60 years has drilled 1.2 million wells in the United States without producing a single case of contaminated ground water.
Taking counsel of their fears has made them weaker and at the mercy of a merciless despot.  Hopefully the recent turn to the right in Europe will change their attitude.   It would be for their own good.


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