Is Moscow secretly funding campaigns against Europe’s shale gas plans? Quite possibly.
Russia used to sell natural gas to Europe and the rest of the world for an average of $10 per unit, but since the shale gas boom took off in the US prices there have fallen to $3 a unit, and the world has taken note.
Fiona Hill, an expert on Russia at the Brookings Institution, remarked that “this is where everything is being turned on its head. Their days of dominating the European gas markets are gone.”
Shale gas has the ability to completely change the world of energy. Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government concluded in a report that “the relative fortunes of the United States, Russia, and China — and their ability to exert influence in the world — are tied in no small measure to global gas developments.”
Some European countries started to imagine a future away from the oppressive shadow of Gazprom, and the Russian natural gas giant was obviously not happy with that, yet the signs are there that it is losing its grip on Europe. Last year Gazprom reported profits of $44 billion, whereas this year they have fallen by almost 25 percent.
Mitt Romney said in one of his campaign papers that he “will pursue policies that work to decrease the reliance of European nations on Russian sources of energy.”
Poland’s Ministry for the Environment also stated that “an increased production of natural gas from shale formations in Europe will limit the import via pipelines from Algeria and Russia.”
Fiona Hill noted that industry experts have suggested that Russia is funding environmental groups to oppose fracking in the UE, which could severely reduce Russia’s natural gas export market, as well as Gazprom’s profits.
By. James Burges of Oilprice.com