It is unlikely that shale gas development in European states will replicate the rapid growth that has been seen in the US in the last few years. Different laws regarding mineral rights for landowners, the cost of land, population density, public attitudes to the role of the state in environmental regulation, and the lack of existing industry infrastructure and services all point to slower development in the EU for shale gas than what has been seen in North America. Nevertheless as the EU's domestic production of conventional gas is in decline, shale gas production could mitigate greater dependency on natural gas imports, either in the form of LNG or pipeline gas from Russia. Furthermore, gas-fired power is a preferable alternative to coal-fired power generation in terms of carbon emissions. The next boom region for shale gas after the US, however, is likely to occur elsewhere, most likely China; especially given the fact that France, Bulgaria and Romania have placed a hold on hydraulic fracturing, while in the UK, Germany and the Czech Republic the policy environment is uncertain. Only in Poland has shale gas been wholeheartedly adopted in Europe so far.
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