- energy - environment - France - Poland - shale gas fracking - South Africa
Shale gas: an uncertain future
Is shale gas an energy game-changer or a dangerous fossil fuel? This week we examine some strikingly different standpoints on what is a potential energy of the future.
Despite estimates France could hold some of the largest reserves in Europe, the French government has closed the door to shale gas exploration. It's not opposed to the energy per se, but to hydraulic fracturing, the only viable technique to extract this hard-to-reach gas. But what would happen if alternative techniques were discovered? Two promising possibilities include electric spark fracturing and exothermic or non-hydraulic extraction.
Next, South Africa has become the first country in the world to lift a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing. But with some of the largest shale gas reserves believed to be located in the Karoo region, where water runs close to the surface, environmentalists are vowing to take the decision to the Constitutional Court.
Finally, we head to Poland, where the government is surging ahead with efforts to extract the resource. Although progress is slower than expected, Poland is still planning to become Europe's shale gas pioneer.