LONDON, March 14 (Reuters) - Ukraine's crisis underscores the importance of Europe's drive for greater energy security and could buoy development of shale gas as the continent looks to cut back on Russian supplies.
As tensions between Moscow and Kiev spark concerns over a possible cut in Russian gas to Europe via Ukraine, European Union officials this week identified shale gas drilling as one of the "indigenous sources of energy" that can help reduce such imports.
Significantly, EU politicians left shale out of tougher rules on exposing the environmental impact of oil and conventional gas.
Poland also introduced an investor-friendly shale gas bill aimed at cutting red tape and regulatory hurdles.
"I expect that as a result of the Ukraine crisis, the EU is going to look much more seriously at ways of diversifying away from Russian energy sources," said John Lough, associate fellow at London think-tank Chatham House.
"Shale gas will be one of the options to be explored."
Britain and Poland have for years pressed for shale gas development to help lessen their dependence on imported fossil fuels.
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