EU Wants Rapid Access to US Gas Fracking

The article originally appeared at Deutsche Wirtschafts Nachrichten. Translated for RI by Kristina Aleshnikova


The EU wants to import U.S. gas and it wants this to be regulated in the TTIP Agreement. The U.S. does not agree. U.S. energy companies are not interested in exporting gas to the EU, but rather in access to the EU’s shale gas resources. They want to produce directly on the European continent. That way they could secure billions in government subsidies.

The EU wants to negotiate a section on energy cooperation with the U.S. within the framework of the TTIP Agreement. Maroš Šefčovič, the Energy Commissioner for Energy Union stated in an interview with the Wall Street Journal that the EU would like to reduce its energy dependency on Russia. For this reason Brussels would expect Washington to lift the current export restriction on U.S. shale gas to Europe. “We believe that the energy chapter in TTIP … could make a quite important contribution to the mutually beneficial trade exchange, but also to the energy security of the EU,” Šefčovič said.

The U.S. shale gas industry will be able to sell 240 million cubic metres of gas per day. According to Šefčovič  the EU is the largest market and the largest energy importer in the world. “I think we are a quite important destination for any energy exporter,” said the EU Commissioner. Trevor Kincaid, a spokesman for the U.S. government, pointed out that the U.S. government has not yet given any thought to the inclusion of an energy chapter in the TTIP Agreement.

However the U.S. is obviously not necessarily interested in exporting large quantities of shale gas to Europe, the transport costs for which would be prohibitive. The U.S. energy companies want to get their hands on local shale gas resources in Europe. This is already adequately covered by the TTIP Agreement. At the end of March the Federal Cabinet in Berlin approved a controversial fracking law: thus Germany opened the door to Europe for U.S. energy companies. Germany is particularly vulnerable after its surprise exit from nuclear power and is searching for alternatives in order to free itself from dependency on Russia. The Americans are offering help and promise that fracking is the new cure-all.

In addition, they want to secure billions in government subsidies through such investments on the European continent. The EU taxpayer will end up having to finance the fracking expansion of U.S. companies in Europe. The European and American taxpayers have already had to pay 1.3 billion euros to construct a liquified natural gas terminal for U.S. companies.

Energy experts have doubts about fracking in Europe: the method of extraction is too expensive in the EU. There is much resistance in the population. Among other things, the Americans want to bring their fracking technology to Ukraine straightaway, in order to tear Kiev away from Russia.


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