European Union’s fracking pronouncement: Full speed ahead, Britain

posted at 2:01 pm on December 23, 2013 by Erika Johnsen

While France and Germany have quixotically shut down what might have been their own hydraulic-fracturing endeavors before they ever even had a chance to begin, British Prime Minister David Cameron has been aggressively pursuing his own domestic fracking plans as part of a long-term agenda to mitigate the steeply rising gas and electricity bills about which Brits have been feeling deeply upset (although their prices are still relatively better than the bills coming due across the wider EU, yikes).

After having to politically champion the cause of hydraulic fracturing in the face of vehemently opposed environmentalist interests, the British government announced last week that they were opening up a bunch of areas for shale oil-and-gas exploration — although domestic opposition was not the only potential source of consternation with which they had to contend, via Reuters:

British Prime Minister David Cameron has warned the European Commission not to propose European Union-wide legislation to regulate the nascent fracking industry, saying such a move could create uncertainty and stifle investment.

Rising energy bills are a big issue ahead of a 2015 election and Cameron is keen to tap Britain’s large resources of shale gas to shore up the country’s energy security as its North Sea oil reserves decline.

In a letter to European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso released on Tuesday, Cameron said the European Union could derail investment in British shale gas extraction, or fracking as the process is known, if it chose to legislate.

“I am not in favour of new legislation where the lengthy timeframes and significant uncertainty involved are major causes for concern,” Cameron wrote in the letter dated Dec. 4. “The industry in the UK has told us that new EU legislation would immediately delay imminent investment.”

Fortunately, it seems that the European Union is ready to get smart on the energy front, and that esteemed group of bureaucrats evidently decided to heed Cameron’s advice and shelve plans for further fracking regulations, via The Times:

David Cameron has called on European leaders to press ahead with fracking after seeing off the threat of new EU restrictions on the industry.

The Prime Minister had feared that Europe would fall farther behind the US in exploiting the energy source if the European Commission imposed new legal rules on the drilling.

He urged European companies to start fracking in earnest after EU officials confirmed that there would be no new legislation.

This is all happening at the same time that the European Union as well as several individual European countries are doing quite a bit of backtracking on the wildly optimistic green-energy policies that they so hoped would help to rid them of fossil fuels but have instead have succeeded mostly at mutual impoverishment.


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They all need to watch Matt Damon in “Promised Land”…

That’ll change some minds…

BigWyo on December 23, 2013 at 2:08 PM

The Peak Oil crowd most disappointed by these announcements. After all they made regular predictions many times each year starting in about 1970 that we were going to run out of oil (read energy) within 5 years. After about 500 failed predictions you would think they might have figured out they were all doomer losers.

Johnnyreb on December 23, 2013 at 2:14 PM

Which goes to show that even the wussiest conservative PM in the free world is better than a liberal nutjob presidente…

jimver on December 23, 2013 at 2:19 PM

They all need to watch Matt Damon in “Promised Land”…

That’ll change some minds…

BigWyo on December 23, 2013 at 2:08 PM

Yeah, no.

squint on December 23, 2013 at 2:20 PM

Maggie! Maggie! Maggie!
Yes! Yes! Yes!

Blake on December 23, 2013 at 2:22 PM

Maggie! Maggie! Maggie!
Yes! Yes! Yes!

Blake on December 23, 2013 at 2:22 PM

He’s no Maggie :), but he’s got the single most important issue for Britain and Europe right, which is…more fracking, thank you…

jimver on December 23, 2013 at 2:25 PM

Imagine if the media would ever tell the truth.

KMC1 on December 23, 2013 at 2:29 PM

Keep it simple, follow the facts:

http://www.wattsupwiththat.com/

All you have to be able to do is read.

APACHEWHOKNOWS on December 23, 2013 at 2:31 PM

Imagine if the media would ever tell the truth.

KMC1 on December 23, 2013 at 2:29 PM

But that wouldn’t further the liberal/socialist/progressive/communist agenda!!!

Gunlock Bill on December 23, 2013 at 2:35 PM

He’s no Maggie :), but he’s got the single most important issue for Britain and Europe right, which is…more fracking, thank you…

jimver on December 23, 2013 at 2:25 PM

No that’s not true, the most important issues here are gay rights and tolerance for minorities.All carbon based exploration is done virtually sub rosa.I know because I’m an American working in the field.

celtic warrior on December 23, 2013 at 3:00 PM

Their prices are a result of carbon taxes and interference from the feds. More product is not going to lower prices. Less taxes will.

TX-96 on December 23, 2013 at 3:48 PM

Nice to see Britain not trapped aboard the EU FailMonkey bandwagon. For once.

I suspect, however that this is (surprise!) a typically cynical political decision by the Boneheads from Brussels: If it works, and leads to lower prices they can point to their ‘success’. If it does not, or some awful accident happens, they get to point to their ‘prudence’ if avoiding tracking on the Continent.

Because we’re the EU. And We Always Play To Not Lose.(TM)

orangemtl on December 23, 2013 at 4:19 PM

D***ed spellcorrect: “…they get to point to their prudence BY NOT FRACKING on the Continent.”

orangemtl on December 23, 2013 at 4:20 PM

A lot of commentators e.g. Richard North, Andrew Montford (Bishop Hill) aren’t quite so sanguine – they seem to be more of the opinion that the EU just punted on a quick fix in favor of attempting to blend fracking regulation (and for all intents and purposes a ban) into a longer-term energy bill.

Those in positions of authority e.g. Connie Hedegaard are among the nastiest of the watermelons, and it’s difficult to imagine them backing down this easily.

JEM on December 23, 2013 at 4:26 PM

@jimver – let us recall that this UK PM has repeatedly been shown to be at the mercy of (a) his green-leaning wife and (b) his nutjob LibDem coalition partners.

He’s been soft-pedaling the Tory brand much as our GOP Senators do, but in doing so he just looks weak and permanently shackled to the sinking LibDem anchor; the only thing keeping him afloat is that Labour leadership periodically lets their hammer-and-sickle underwear show.

JEM on December 23, 2013 at 4:33 PM

This is all happening at the same time that the European Union as well as several individual European countries are doing quite a bit of backtracking on the wildly optimistic green-energy policies that they so hoped would help to rid them of fossil fuels but have instead have succeeded mostly at mutual impoverishment

…JugEars is trying his best…to surpass them!

KOOLAID2 on December 23, 2013 at 4:42 PM

Unbelievable, formerly sovereign countries begging the EU to allow them to drill for gas/oil.

mockmook on December 23, 2013 at 5:09 PM

The Peak Oil crowd most disappointed by these announcements. After all they made regular predictions many times each year starting in about 1970 that we were going to run out of oil (read energy) within 5 years. After about 500 failed predictions you would think they might have figured out they were all doomer losers.

Johnnyreb on December 23, 2013 at 2:14 PM

You might think that, but only if you assume the Peak Oil crowd (and their predecessors) are rational. They are not.

The publisher of my last newspaper had fallen under the thrall of a local Peak activist (who gave presentations to local governments on global energy policy, following the old radical “Think Globally – Act Locally” mantra). I supplied him with a few facts about oil, known reserves, advancing technology, and the history of energy for the last century.

His reply, “Well, you do admit the supply is finite at some level, right?”

You cannot defeat “logic” like that. At best, you can only keep it as far away from the reins of power as possible.

Adjoran on December 23, 2013 at 5:19 PM

But, weren’t they listening to Mr. “Noble Piece Prize” when he said energy prices would necessarily skyrocket? Where’s the love?

8thAirForce on December 23, 2013 at 5:28 PM