Should Europe be Fracking?

BRUSSELS – The global energy community is abuzz with excitement about hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” a newish technology that has opened formerly inaccessible reserves of gas trapped in underground shale formations. The boom in this so-called shale-gas production has allowed the United States to become almost self-sufficient in natural gas.

Europe, by contrast, is clearly lagging. Exploration is proceeding only hesitantly and shale-gas production has not even started, prompting many observers to lament that Europe is about to miss the next energy revolution. Should Europeans be worried?