1) Cost are higher in Europe. But prices are double. 2) America certainly has a more highly developed service industry. Also a very crowded one, which goes a way to explaining why a shale gas conference in Poland next week will be swamped by US companies. The 100 gas drills in Europe (up 30% in two years) is a reflection of demand, not supply. Deutsche Bank says European wells will cost $14 million, which sure provides a good incentive to a North American driller who is up against 1200 other drills chasing $6 each. Surely The Economist of all places hasn't lost faith in supply and demand or sellers chasing rich buyers? 2a) Europe (and it's journalists) should stop beating themselves up. Self hating Europeans like Paul Stevens think US companies won't find them attractive. But Europe has a) the largest gas market on earth b) prices double the USA and c) a rule of law and regulatory regime not held hostage to permanent political paralysis or a central committee model open to sudden change from within or without. Europe has significant advantages as those who don't get their world view from the Op-Ed pages know to their profit. Where would a North American company looking to expand in markets with regulatory certainty, huge markets and high prices choose to go? Angola? Argentina? East Timor? Look in the mirror Europe, you look pretty good! 3. Regulatory certainty is much more important than the amount of regulations themselves. Some regulations may seem a waste of time or a pain in the butt, but well, you do get a damn good price for the trouble and b) those regulations won't be replaced overnight with completely different regulatory, or tax,regimes either. 4) Open access is official EU policy, equal to US models in places like the UK, and headed that way in any number of other markets. A smaller continent also mean that that gas is always closer to markets. In North America for example the Bakken shale is flaring off 35% of their natural gas because of lack of physical capacity, and big producers in Texas, Wyoming and Alberta increasingly stranded as Pennsylvania gas sits on the doorsteps of huge markets. That gas, and money won't go up in smoke in Europe until end users have paid double the Henry Hub for it. That sounds profitable enough to have some left over after the regulations. Exactly the same will develop in Gdansk and Lublin, Lancashire, Lower Saxony and yes, even the Paris Basin. Huge reserves of gas sitting under huge numbers of customers who have the need, have the money and have the laws to keep on paying you. 5) The crowded Europe myth has been discussed here http://www.nohotair.co.uk/2011/63-shale-gas/2256-the-europe-is-too-crowd... Finally, the US shale boom is not 20 years old but barely 10, dating from the 2002 acquisition of Mitchell Energy by Devon. George Mitchell tried for 20 years before to perfect the combination of tracking and horizontal drilling that eventually worked, but Europe, or China, or India, or Australia, or Mexico, or Argentina won't need to re-invent that particular wheel. Technology travels at light speed. Sadly, perceptions like Professor Stevens' repeated here are far slower. Far more, and far ahead of most at www.nohotair.co.uk, where we always do next year's stories this year. But where we're up to 2013 already anyway.