What can Europe learn from the so-called US shale gas revolution?
That was the topic of debate at a Comment Visions forum in Brussels, which was organised by Royal Dutch Shell and Euronews.
EU policy-makers wonder if fracking – pumping water and chemicals into shale rock at pressure – could also drive down prices on this side of the Atlantic.
French researcher Raymond Michels explained many people oppose the use of fossil fuels due to fears about CO2 levels.
“Then there are some who oppose shale gas exploration because the are concerned about the risk to drinking water or the general industrial risk around this kind of activity,” said Michels, who is with France’s National Centre for Scientific Research.
Opponents say dangerous chemicals can seep into the ground during the fracking process.
They also argue it diverts investor attention away from alternative sources.
But Czech MEP Jan Brezina said you cannot rely too much on renewables.
“If you take in account renewables, it’s necessary to have some energy resources to support it and it’s in any case better [to use] shale gas than for instance coal,” he said
It is up to EU member states to decide.
Currently only Britain and Poland plan to explore their own shale gas reserves.