Lessons from Europe's Shale Gas Discussions

A host of Middle East and North Africa nations (MENA) are looking to go down the long road of exploiting shale gas resources.

As they proceed down this path, FH Brussels’ vice president Spencer Swartz writes, in an article written for Gulf Oil Review this month, that Europe’s contentious debate provides MENA nations with no shortage of the challenging – but manageable – environmental and social considerations associated with shale gas development long before any commercial extraction takes place.

Longstanding public legitimacy remains rock solid for conventional oil and gas production in states flirting with shale gas development like Algeria and Saudi Arabia.

But without early and sustained discussion about the various implications of shale resource development, such as on water quality, MENA nations could find themselves fighting bigger battles down the road with publics that, over the past two years, have demonstrated their willingness to challenge government policy.

Read the Gulf Oil Review article MENA can learn from EU shale regulation debate.