The U.S. doesn’t have much regard for soccer. Despite decades of slow growth ‘the beautiful game’ still hasn’t caught on, as it has in the rest of the world. But the U.S. team fared better than expected during the 2014 World Cup and raised interest in the sport. Nevertheless, we remain woefully behind South America, Europe, and even Africa, in futbol expertise.
What does this have to do with oil and gas? Well, we remain woefully behind when it comes to fracking regulation too.
[ NOTE: We at DDHI are pretty shy with the ‘f’ word fracking, because there are so many definitions, with none of them consistent, and all of them worrisome. There’s ‘low volume,’ ‘high volume,’ ’high-rate,’ ‘high-viscosity,’ and our personal favorite ‘acid well stimulation.’ All of these techniques use water, acids and other unknown chemicals – because the prospectors won’t tell us – to penetrate into underground oil/gas pockets to harvest much-desired ($$) resources.]
As the German team romped into the World Cup finals, their government was busy installing a partial ban on fracking until 2021. They announced the ban on July 4th; “Fracking for shale and coal bed gas for economic reasons won’t be possible in Germany for the foreseeable future.” The only fracking that will be allowed is “for scientific purposes if the fluids aren’t harmful to water supplies.” So, they will only frack in order to research and better understand long-term environmental effects.
This is remarkable when you consider that Europe as a whole is highly dependent on Russia as an energy supplier, and recent unrest in the Crimea and Ukraine is causing uncertainty and market fluctuations. This is similar to how Middle East unrest used to drive oil price spikes in the U.S. – before we became a net exporter of energy resources. So Europeans, and Germans in particular, were striving for their own form of ‘energy independence’ (from Russia) and they STILL rejected fracking.
Germany has already demonstrated a huge commitment to alternate, renewable energy sources, with an almost unrivaled emphasis on solar power. We should be doing the same.
BTW, if you favor Argentina in the finals – they too are actively working to ban fracking in their nation. Indeed, lots of nations, around the globe, are finding that the costs and risks far outweigh the benefits of fracking. Maybe, like in soccer, it is high time the United States catches up with the rest of the world.