The European Parliament voted last Wednesday two resolutions calling on the EU countries to exercise restraint on the development of shale gas. It calls for “strong regulatory regimes” regarding hydraulic fracturing, the biggest point of contention regarding the exploitation of shale gas. European countries are advised to be “cautious” when granting new licenses.
This is important, considering that shale gas exploitation has drastically driven US gas prices down and has started to impact other industries. The resolutions adopted in Strasbourg are not binding, and the decision to operate or not unconventional reserves remain under the sovereignty of European Member States. France banned hydraulic fracturing, while Bulgaria and the Czech Republic have declared a moratorium. Poland, meanwhile, will take advantage of its large shale gas reserves to reduce its dependence from natural gas imports from Moscow.
The European Parliament rejected however an amendment proposing states to prohibit hydraulic fracturing.