European Shale Gas Developments

The Europe & Eurasian region is a net importer of natural gas and is expected to increasingly import more natural gas to meet demand in the long-term. Growth may be constrained by increased energy efficiency across the region and measures to reduce carbon emissions. Although an increase in imports will be needed just to maintain 2008 demand over the long-term. It is projected that up to 518 bcm of gas imports will be needed by 2030, and up to 198 bcm of this will be from new supply contracts. Europe is keen to reduce its reliance on imported gas from Russia.

The European market for liquefied natural gas (LNG) in Europe is facing competition from demand in Asia as the market moves away from long-term supply contracts. Meeting demand from China and India may be more profitable for Russian exporters. Despite this the private sector is involved in shale gas exploration, often in conjunction with local players and interest in the space has developed rapidly over the past few years.

The most potential countries for development are Poland and the Ukraine partially due to their low population density.
Research into the potential of shale gas in Europe is being carried out by GASH, an interdisciplinary shale gas research initiative started in 2009. The project is sponsored by Statoil, ExxonMobil, Gas de France SUEZ, Wintershall, Vermillion, Marathon Oil, Total, Repsol, Schlumberger and Bayerngas.

Competition to shale gas is expected to come from Central Asian and Middle Eastern gas supplies through the Southern Corridor; Russian through new Gazprom pipelines; Norway through the Skanled and Baltic pipelines; and North Africa through the Galsi and Medgas pipelines. An additional Turkey-Greece interconnector is planned to transport 11 to 12 bcm of natural gas annually.