U.S. energy major Chevron's decision to stop exploring for shale gas in Poland has highlighted the sector's uncertain future and role in strengthening energy security in Europe.
A shale gas boom in the United States over the past few years has reduced its energy dependence, but Europe is in the early stages of development and no commercial drilling has yet started. The U.S. Energy Information Administration has estimated Europe could hold trillions of cubic metres of recoverable shale gas but it is still uncertain where reserves are located, how large they are and whether they are commercially viable.
In fact, revisions to estimates of technically recoverable resources, disappointing outcomes and growing opposition to shale gas have reduced the hype about development prospects in Europe.
The surge in U.S. shale oil and gas production has also caused a large build in global supplies at a time of low demand, contributing to a sharp fall in crude oil prices since June last year.
"I don't know any serious person who thinks Europe is going to have a shale gas revolution in 15 years at least. It's just not going to happen, there are too many barriers to it."I track the European energy story here (the big picture, only).
Meanwhile, Shell will start dismantling one of Britain's oldest and biggest oil platforms.
Oil company Shell intends to start a 10-year process to dismantle and remove one of Britain's oldest and biggest oil platforms, Brent Delta.
Britain's North Sea basin is one of the most mature oil and gas production areas in the world and many of its oldest fields are approaching the end of their operational life.
Decommissioning about 500 offshore installations and 10,000 kilometres of pipelines is expected to cost 10.4 billion pounds ($15.7 billion) by 2022.
Shell has submitted plans to the government to start the decommissioning process of its old Brent platforms, starting with the removal of the above-water topside at Brent Delta. Brent Delta stopped producing oil in November 2011 and after several years of assessing alternative uses for the platform Shell decided decommissioning was the best way forward. The remainder of the Brent field, whose platforms Alpha and Bravo stopped producing oil last November, is expected to be decomissioned in a second phase.