Our friends in Europe have taken a very different path. A recent analysis by Bloomberg noted that Europe likely has more recoverable shale gas than the United States. Yet Germany, France, the Netherlands, Scotland, and Bulgaria all effectively ban fracking. Producers in the United Kingdom have fought protesters in years-long public relations battles just to hydraulically fracture a handful of wells. In short, Europe has effectively chosen not to develop its resources.
Europe’s natural gas supplies are now back in the news after what appears to be an attack by Russia on European soil. A former Russian spy named Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were found slumped over on a park bench after apparently inhaling a white powder that was placed in their car’s ventilation system. Dozens of others have been sickened by the powder as well. UK Prime Minister Theresa May has blamed the attack on Russia and retaliated by expelling 23 Russian diplomats. In turn, Russia is expelling 23 people from the British Embassy in Moscow.
It did not take long for natural gas to become part of the story. As the BBC reports, the United Kingdom depends heavily on imported natural gas. Most of it comes via pipeline from Norway, but liquefied natural gas is also an important resource. In the past, most of the UK’s LNG has come from Qatar. Last year, however, 37% of Europe’s natural gas demand was met with Russian gas.
This year, the United Kingdom has brought in three cargoes of Russian LNG directly from a recently-opened natural gas project in Siberia called Yamal. Prime Minister Theresa May has been criticized over these shipments. Conservative MP Stephen Crabb argued the United Kingdom should forgo Russian gas and if necessary buy additional supplies from allies like Qatar, Malaysia, and Australia. The Prime Minister said “we are indeed looking to other countries.” The UK is not the only country worried. On March 15, a bipartisan group of U.S. Senators sent a letter to the State Department calling for it to do everything it can to block the expansion of a Russian pipeline system called Nord Stream into Germany.
Happily, the United States has largely freed itself of the energy dependence that creates these awkward geopolitical conversations. The shale gas fields of Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Ohio deserve much of the credit. The land experts at Cimmaron Land can help your company add to America’s independence by securing rights in the region. Just give us a call at (412) 212-7517.