Shale Oil and Gas are like a drug, administered to a terminally ill person – it might extend his or her life span, but it will not cure the patient. Moreover, Europe has no significant shale oil/gas anyway.
Much less Germany, which is set to lift the ban on fracking.
In a study, which was published in June 2013, US Energy Information Agency (EIA) tried to assess technically recoverable resources in 41 countries.
This is what EIA’s world map for shale oil and gas looks like:
And this is their Top Ten list for shale oil:
The “gas chart” looks very similar by the way. Without reading too much into EIA’s numbers, they allow a rough approximation. For Europe the paper holds two messages:
- While there is some potential in France, Poland and the Ukraine, Europe clearly cannot become energy indpendent by fracking. With regard to Ukraine and the Black sea, deepwater reserves seem to be of more interest to Russian Romanian/Austrian and even US players.
- Russia seems to have a lot of shale oil resources in Western Siberia. From a geostrategic point of view Russia constitutes a nearly perfect fit for productive, outward bound parts of european industry (if only they would be “allowed” to partner with the ruskis.)
There could be a catch to the equation - net energy. The exploitation of shale could require so much energy, that the whole thing would be not worth the effort. More on this in the next post.
But despite their vast resources, the russians will not escape peak oil either. Which would be a blessing in disguise for the europeans. Peak oil – of all things – could prevent energy poor Europe from becoming an russian “colony” (as is predicted by transatlanticists and their ilk all the time).
If german, french and italian companies are able to offer what Russia needs for her own energy transition, Europe will be able to pay for Moscow’s oil and gas – without losing its independence or sinking into insignificance (or becoming unilaterally dependent on the whims of LNG providers).