During the past 10 years shale gas development projects have proven to be highly successful in a number of North American basins, and have become a game changer for the energy supply there. Because of these successes, shale gas exploration and development technologies are being deployed around the globe, including Europe. But while there appears to be vast shale gas resources across Europe, many industry analysts express concerns about the probability of repeating the North American successes in Europe. These concerns are based on the denser population in Europe, different safety and environmental regulations, and the doubts of many European residents about the overall safety of shale gas development. Moreover, unlike North America where landowners often are entitled to significant lease payments and royalties for their mineral rights, the mineral rights throughout most of Europe are owned by the governments, rather than the landowners. The combination of these factors adds to the difficulty of building public support for a shale gas program.

This paper provides a discussion of a shale gas exploration program currently being conducted by Cuadrilla Resources in England. It examines the concerns of the local residents, and how these have affected media coverage, and support (or opposition) from politicians. It discusses the strategy and approach used by Cuadrilla for addressing questions and concerns from the local residents, various UK regulatory bodies, politicians and the media. While this paper focuses on a UK shale gas case, the conclusions and recommendations are applicable to any shale gas program in Europe or elsewhere.

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