As the debate over how to regulate fracking — and whether to permit the process at all — rages in the U.S. and Europe, there are powerful interests that can benefit from blocking its expansion, namely, existing oil and gas producers, such as the Gulf States and Russia. There have been plenty of rumors that the governments of such places have supported anti-fracking activists, but now NATO has more or less officially accused Russian intelligence agencies of supporting anti-fracking NGOs in Europe. The FT reports:
Russian intelligence agencies are covertly funding and working with European environmental groups to campaign against fracking and maintain EU dependence on Russian gas, the head of Nato has claimed.
Answering questions after a speech in London, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Nato secretary-general, said improving European energy security was of the “utmost importance” and accused Moscow of “blackmail” in its dealings with Europe. “I have met allies who can report that Russia, as part of their sophisticated information and disinformation operations, engaged actively with so-called non-governmental organisations – environmental organisations working against shale gas – to maintain European dependence on imported Russian gas,” Mr Rasmussen, former Danish prime minister, told an audience at Chatham House, the international affairs think-tank. . . .
Mr Rasmussen did not detail the nature of his suspicions about Russian involvement with environmental groups.
The 28-nation EU bloc depends on Russia for about a third of its oil and gas needs but has significant shale gas reserves that could permanently curb its high dependence on imports.
A Nato official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told the Financial Times that the alliance believed Russia was engaged in “a campaign of disinformation on many issues, including energy”.
“The potential for Russia using energy supplies as a means of putting pressure on European nations is a matter of concern. No country should use supply and pricing terms as tools of coercion,” they said. “We share a concern by some allies that Russia could try to obstruct possible projects on shale gas exploration in Europe in order to maintain Europe’s reliance on Russian gas.”