Moet Europa een inhaalslag maken op het gebied van fracking?

BRUSSEL – De mondiale energiegemeenschap staat bol van de opwinding over 'fracking,' een hydraulische techniek voor het aanboren van voorheen ontoegankelijke gasvoorraden, die vastzitten in ondergrondse rotsformaties (het zogenoemde schaliegesteente). De bloei van deze schaliegasproductie heeft de Verenigde Staten in staat gesteld vrijwel zelfvoorzienend te worden op het gebied van aardgas.

Europa ligt hierbij vergeleken duidelijk achterop. De exploratie verloopt slechts aarzelend en de schaliegasproductie is nog niet eens begonnen. Dit heeft veel waarnemers ertoe gebracht te klagen dat Europa op het punt staat de volgende revolutie op energiegebied te missen. Moeten de Europeanen zich zorgen maken?

Critici van het schijnbare gebrek aan enthousiasme van Europa zien twee zaken over het hoofd. In de eerste plaats verschilt de geologie van Europa nogal van die van Amerika. Er is een groot verschil tussen potentiële voorraden die ergens verborgen liggen in grote formaties schaliegesteente en winbare reserves die economisch kunnen worden geëxploiteerd.

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