Jose Manuel Barroso, president of the European Commission, the EU’s executive body, said growing tension with Russia over its actions in Ukraine serve as a “very strong wake-up call for Europe” about energy issues. “Europe is working very decisively to reduce its energy dependency,” he said last week at an EU-U.S. summit in Brussels. Europe can pursue many long-term options such as ramping up renewable energy production and importing liquefied natural gas, both expensive propositions. But shale gas continues to be front of mind among energy ministers and policymakers. Accessing nearby shale gas resources would be cheaper than other options and could create up to one million jobs in the coming years, according to research commissioned by the International Association of Oil & Gas Producers.
“The outlook [for shale] is undoubtedly brighter now than it was a year ago,” said energy analysts at Eurasia Group.
Over the medium term, Europe is working on building more interconnected links and storage facilities to give nations more flexibility with their natural gas supplies. The process “is not very glamorous,” says Pearson, but it will help Europe reach its goal of greater energy independence.