Will Fracking Spread Internationally?
When asked whether fracking will expand to the global south, Michael T. Klare – director of the Five College Program in Peace and World Security Studies at Hampshire College – told IPS, “It will happen, but they (currently) don’t have the capacity to do it on their own.
“So countries, like China, are buying into (U.S.) companies to acquire the know how to do so,” he said.
If shale gas projects were to expand into Poland and Ukraine, which are currently exploring the option, “(it) would be a blow to Russia, because Russia now is a major supplier of natural gas to Europe, and depends on that for income and for political influence,” he added.
David G. Victor, a professor at the Graduate School of School of International Relations and Pacific Studies, told IPS, “Cheap natural gas will make it harder for countries (in the global south) to justify natural gas projects, because the price they’re going to get for the gas will be much lower.”
“If you’re Nigeria or any of these countries that are exporting liquified natural gas, [it costs] 10 dollars or 12 dollars per BTU for your gas when you deliver it… that’s a ton of money.
“There are a lot of places that could produce a lot of gas very quickly, but the problem is getting it to the markets. That’s the main difference between gas and oil,” he added.
On the price of coal, Victor said, “While stock prices have come down a lot, the long-term contracts are more stable.”
He cites a few reasons: the weak world economy has lowered demand for coal, which has driven down its prices; and coal burning is facing more regulations, due to the heavy pollution it causes.
“The third reason is low natural gas prices here in the U.S.,” he said.
In response to an IPS inquiry, Christopher Neal, a senior communications officer at the World Bank, stated, “The Bank is not financing shale gas exploration or projects involving hydraulic fracturing, and there are no planned projects of this nature.”