I attended some times ago a lecture by Professor Mason (Director of Oak Ridge National LaboratoryU.S. Department of Energy ) on “Science technology for the energy challenge”. I was very surprised to hear explaining the reasons why shale gas is very developed in US and Canada but nowhere else. I am sure French people will appreciate: the first reason is that… it is a very complicated technology and US industry has a better understanding of it! Then comes the issues of the mineral rights for exploitation and finally…the existence of some challenges for water use but…there are some solution and anyway “ No form of energy comes free of environmental consequences” (he thought it was then time for a comparison with windmills people sometimes do not like to see...). For a video of Prof. Mason lecture, go to : http://www6.cityu.edu.hk/cityvod/video/play/VPRT/CityU_lecture_Dr_Mason.aspx
His interesting answer about shale gas is at 1.18.