Shale gas can improve our energy security by reducing our gas dependency. It could also be a cleaner alternative in more coal-dependent Member States. In Member States that are phasing out nuclear energy, such as Germany, shale gas could contribute to keeping energy prices down by filling in the gap.
Shale gas research may inspire innovation that leads to exploitation methods that are even cleaner and safer than the current ones. Real potential exists to use seismic and drilling technologies in order to minimise the number of wells drilled, reduce the land required for gas production, and use much less water. Moreover, using multi-purpose drilling techniques both shale gas and geothermic energy sources can be extracted.
As shale gas offers significant CO2 reduction possibilities but is still in an early stage in Europe, research into possible technological developments for exploring shale gas potential in Europe would support exploration efforts.
1. What does the Commission plan to do in order to promote further research in this area? Is there an EU forum for exchange between experts and institutions?
2. Does the Commission support new initiatives for innovation in shale gas drilling techniques?
3. Given the ongoing research into shale gas drilling technologies in the US, would the Commission consider EU funding for fundamental research into multi-wall drilling in Europe, for example in order to introduce multi-purpose drillings in Europe?
4. Does the Commission see any opportunities which might enable shale gas research to play a role in existing EU programmes, specifically under the FP7 and FP8 programmes?