The rush of European interest in shale underscores wider awareness of a change in the outlook for gas supplies. A surge in US production has meant that within three years the world has gone from running out of natural gas to being drowned in it.
The implications are profound. Policymakers have faced a trilemma: how to make energy supplies secure, affordable and clean. Now an abundance of gas appears to provide the answer to all three problems at once. In the words of Tony Hayward, chief executive of BP, it is a "game changer" - certainly for America, and quite possibly for the world.
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