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Europe's two-horse shale race

Legal and environmental challenges are tying the hands of governments keen to exploit unconventional gas

Germany's position as the only European country with substantial production of unconventional gas could be under threat from Poland. From a late start, Poland is now producing more than 0.6bn cubic metres a year, with an increasing percentage coming from tight gas, according to the latest figures from the International Energy Agency. That compares with Germany's 0.58bn cm/y, mainly sourced from coal-bed methane. However, by North American standards, European production remains a drop in the ocean, a state of affairs that's unlikely to change any time soon. For instance, the Czech Republic's production hovers around 0.1bn cm/y while France's output has collapsed to zero since the millennium

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