Europe needs to come up with a common position on gas – including shale – if it is to be able to exploit the resource, reduce carbon emissions and imports and re-industrialise the union, according to OMV’s chief executive.
Speaking at the firm’s global media summit in London, Gerhard Roiss, said: “Gas is a key issue because it is the greenest fossil energy but it is also the most economic way to reduce CO2 emissions.
“Domestic production in Europe is going down and this means imports will increase. So Europe needs a clear position on energy policy.
“Does Europe go the Japanese way? – nearly 100% dependent on imports – which is why nuclear played such an important role there. If we decide not to what options do you have?
“What is Europe’s position on industrialisation? Gas is cheaper and renewables still too small in 20 years time and too expensive to give Europe a competitive edge.
“Does Europe have its own gas? Yes it has. The Black Sea and on the other side the North Sea West of Shetland. The Black Sea is gas that could be brought in to Europe. But it needs a pipeline, Nabucca West.
“If we want to reduce dependency we need this kind of pipeline, Black Sea infrastructure is needed.
“Europe also has sufficient unconventional gas – 90% of gas in the ground is unconventional, which means shale gas.
“What we know is that each single country cannot afford to produce this gas. Germany and France have failed to find a common approach.
“Europe has to find a common position to support shale gas. There has to be a European discussion, if it is a single country discussion you will know the outcome.
“You cannot compare it to the US. It was a clear target for investment for 10 years in the US. You have to drill, you have to have a permit to drill and test chemistry.
“It is a strategic question for Europe. It needs to be about technology and communication.”