Recently in the UK, the Labor party announced plans to ban hydraulic fracturing across the country if elected. Although highly criticized by some and applauded by others, this initiative marks a new change in the country's attitude towards fracking.
When the EU Trade Commissioner met with Exxon representatives behind closed doors several years ago, his message to tankers was unequivocal: America's shale gas revolution was the prelude to an identical one in the EU.
Fracking was seen as the great salvation of the old continent and a process by which hopes of energy independence would increase, thanks to a relatively cheap fossil fuel and with a reduced climate impact.
In 2011, the then president of Poland, Donald Tusk, had already committed to starting commercial hydraulic fracturing in 2014, after geological studies estimated that the country could have up to 768 billion cubic meters of shale gas reserves. But things changed as tensions grew in Ukraine and Europe. Energy security and competitiveness were the new political priorities, and there was increased pressure from activists who decried fracking and predicted its dire consequences.
In 2013, an unidentified BP executive warned EU Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger that low US gas prices had damaged market competitiveness and warned that a similar case could occur in Europe.
From hype to silence
Three years later, things have radically changed. France, Germany and Scotland have banned all hydraulic fracturing. The group of oil giants led by Exxon, Chevron and Marathon who sought to carry out an economic revolution in Poland and Denmark has left empty-handed.
In Romania, Hillary Clinton's attempts to revive a shale gas market for US companies ended in massive protests and Chevron's departure. In Bulgaria, the US trade mission ended in a ban on hydraulic fracturing.
On the European continent there are those who defend fracking and speak of very accessible sources of work and resources, but ecologists and environmentalists are the biggest detractors of this system, since it is highly polluting and has great risks of producing artificial seismological movements.
From the Intern Association. by Produc. of Oil and Gas argue that although Europe is not going to experience a revolution in the style of the United States, the potential remains important and is worth keeping in mind as an alternative.
For Friends of the Earth, the collapse of the development of fracking in Europe is mainly due to the fact that the North American fossil fuel industry has found a very different context in Europe, whose dense population is not used to living in the vicinity of production fields of gas and that it has and applies stricter environmental standards. As things stand, the UK, as long as Labor doesn't win, might be the only place fracking would still be allowed in Europe, but the country is left alone in the face of the mass defection of its former neighbors.
And in Spain, how are we doing fracking?
Incredibly, those who boasted of how much the country would grow thanks to fracking, after several hard blows such as the prospecting of the Canary Islands, the problems with the Castor warehouse earthquakes and the "new" environmental measures, now they look downcast and very quiet.
And it is that fracking has been shown to have truly catastrophic effects at the environmental level, but since in Spain we are the way we are, until we feel the devastation firsthand, we are not convinced that what those who know warn, usually have a scientific basis.
And of course, when the oil giants arrived, our politicians "jumped on the bandwagon", told everyone yes and contributed their media paraphernalia, to get off at the first stop, dizzy from so much earthquake and with a manifest discomfort at the evidence of that all that glittered was not gold.
And in reality it is not that nothing has changed under the Spanish sun, but that continuing with the paripé that everything is great and fracking is great was unsustainable, so they have told the North American gentlemen, that “gudbay and many fenkius " and here nothing has happened.
And the Yankees who know very well when they are losing, have put a "violin in the bag" and have left very quietly. But lose care that they will come back with some great idea (they have TTIP and TiSA in the pipeline) and there will be no lack of the politician who celebrates the matter and wants to sell them to us again as the salvation of Spain.