Controversial Drilling Method Gaining Foothold Across Europe

In a scramble for new sources of natural gas, European energy companies are increasingly turning to hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” a drilling technique that has generated controversy in the U.S. because of potential harmful environmental effects.

In Poland, Halliburton has constructed a well for the state-owned Polish Oil and Gas Company that analysts say could yield 1.4 trillion cubic meters of natural gas, and test wells have been built or are planned in the UK, Sweden, and Denmark. Critics say the drilling process — which involves pumping fluids and sand into the ground at high pressure to break up shale rock and release gas — poses a threat to drinking water supplies.

New York officials this week approved a temporary ban on fracking until state regulators can establish safety guidelines, and the Obama administration is considering stricter disclosure requirements from drilling companies.

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