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Some British ministers, especially Chancellor George Osborne, hope that fracking will enable the UK to experience a shale gas boom similar to the US, and completely change the energy market over the next twenty years.
Unfortunately BP’s chief economist, Christof Rühl, disagrees, stating that Europe and the UK face very different circumstances than the US, which will not enable shale gas production to really kick off until around 2030, and even then only in small amounts.
“Europe has various problems: environmental concerns, outright bans on fracking, a lack of infrastructure and a long tradition of not minding so much having to import things,” that its fracking progress will not be as quick as the US.
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“I think that is also the story for the UK. There will be some projects starting here, maybe earlier than on the continent, but it’s not likely to be a big game-changer in the natural gas market, where we have these declines in the North Sea to compensate.
It takes years to actually generate and unlock shale production in Europe, where infrastructure is so much less developed than it was in the US. It takes an enormous amount of drilling and rigs to unlock shale.”
Analysts at BP (NYSE: BP) have found that shale gas production in the EU may reach 2.4 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd) by 2030, and will not therefore be enough to offset the rapid decline in conventional natural gas production over the same period, inevitably leading to more imports. In contrast the US currently produces about 20bcfd.
By. Joao Peixe of Oilprice.com
Joao is a writer for Oilprice.com