This paper analyses the interplay between shale gas and the EU internal gas market. Drawing on data presented in the 2012 International Energy Agency’s report on shale gas and additional scenario analyses performed by the Joint Research Centre, the paper is based on the assumption that shale gas will not fundamentally change the EU’s dependence on foreign gas supplies. It argues that attention should be shifted away from hyping shale gas to completing the internal gas market. Two main reasons are given for this. First, the internal gas market is needed to enable shale gas development in countries where there is political support for shale gas extraction. And second, a well-functioning internal gas market would, arguably, contribute much more to Europe’s security of supply than domestic shale gas exploitation. This has important implications for the shale gas industry. As it is hard to see how subsidies or exemptions from environmental legislation could be justified, shale gas development in Europe will only go ahead if it proves to be both economically and environmentally viable. It is thus up to the energy industry to demonstrate that this is the case.
Author Jonas Teusch is Research Assistant at CEPS.