Europe will need to tap more diverse sources of gas and develop more supplies of controversial shale gas within the continent, amid concerns over the Ukraine crisis, according to a new energy security strategy unveiled by the European commission on Wednesday.
But green campaigners pointed to a change from earlier proposals for the strategy in favour of more emphasis on gas at the expense of green fuels and reducing demand. They slammed the published strategy for promoting fossil fuels too heavily and failing to give a key role to energy efficiency and renewables
Increasing the sources of supply for the EU’s imports of gas was cited as the priority by the bloc’s energy chief, Guenther Oettinger. About 40% of the EU’s imported gas supply comes from Russia, with around a third from Norway and a fifth from north Africa. But in the wake of the Ukraine crisis, energy experts are worried that this over-dependence on Russia could expose European business and citizens to threats from the Kremlin and higher prices. Russia earlier this month signed a $400bn deal to supply gas to China.
Shale and non-Russian gas imports at heart of new EU energy strategy