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European unconventionals sector must forge its own path

Shale gas holds enormous promise for Europe but producers must adequately address social and environmental concerns

Shale gas in the US has altered the energy sector’s dynamics. Four years ago, the US was a significant gas importer: it is now almost self-sufficient. Shale gas met 2% of US gas consumption in 2000 and had risen to 23% by 2010, according to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA). There are significant shale gas reserves outside of the US as well. In Europe, shale gas could transform the energy landscape, providing energy security and incentives to switch away from coal towards cleaner natural gas. However, the dash for shale gas in the US is associated with a host of environmental issues and has generated widespread public and political opposition that has been picked up in Europe. W

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