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Shell CEO Says the Potential for Shale Gas in Europe Is Limited

Royal Dutch Shell Plc chief Peter Voser said the potential for shale gas development in Europe is limited by the region’s regulations and its dense population.

Shell expects expansion in shale and tight gas -- which is locked in rock that’s difficult and expensive to break -- in North America, China and Australia, and has signed a deal in Ukraine, the chief executive officer said in an interview in Shell Venster, the company’s Dutch-language personnel magazine.

“We are looking further at possibilities in Europe, but the development of shale gas there will be limited as a result of regulation, legislation, high population density and the challenge of obtaining permits,” he said in the interview.

Shell, based in The Hague, applied for permits to drill for oil in Arctic regions this year and next, he said. “We have all the permits we need but we have a long way to go before we start drilling. The emphasis is on Alaska and to a certain extent Greenland, and in Russia some possibilities may arise.”

The company said in September it agreed to invest as much as $800 million to explore for oil, natural gas and shale gas in Ukraine. Shell will cooperate with Ukraine’s Ukrgasvydobuvannia to explore six license areas covering about 1,300 square kilometers (500 square miles) in the Kharkiv region. Drilling of the first deep exploration well would begin this year, it said.

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