Should shale-gas or bio-gas be the future gas production in Europe?

Posted on September 8, 2014


I have now submitted my abstract for the European Energy Security Forum in Brussels on 26 September 2014. I will discuss investments in fracking and compare with investments in bio-gas.

Should shale-gas or bio-gas be the future gas production in Europe?

Kjell Aleklett, Professor in Global Energy Systems at Uppsala University in Sweden and
President of ASPO International

If annual energy use in Europe (EU and partners) is divided into fossil fuel, nuclear and renewable we have that hydro and non-hydro amount to 210 million tons oil equivalent (Mtoe), oil, gas and coal to around 1430 Mtoe and nuclear is 200 Mteo. This means that the renewable fraction is just over 10 percent. The total importation of energy is around 1100 Mtoe or 60 percent of what we consume. The contribution of hydro to renewable energy is 110 Mtoe and it will be hard for Europe to increase that significantly. This means that the non-hydro fraction of renewable energy is equivalent to around 10 percent of the energy Europe imports. Extrapolating the trends in the increases that no-hydro renewables have shown during the last 5 years we can expect these to amount to 200 Mboe in 2020, with this increase coming mainly as renewable generation of electricity.
A non-renewable way to be less dependent on importation of natural gas from Russia can be via hydraulic fracturing (fracking). Within the European Union (EU), Poland appears to have the greatest shale resource and test drilling has started there. Poland currently imports 12.4 billion cubic meters of natural gas per year. Our analysis shows the need to drill at least 400 new shale gas wells per year for Poland to become self-sufficient in natural gas. The cost of each well is of the order of 8 million dollars, so 400 wells per year is an investment of over 3 billion dollar per year. Considering the fact that the production life for a fracking well is very limited it is obvious that this money should, instead, be used for investment in renewable energy generation with a focus on biogas.

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