BRIEFING: Europe’s dependence on US fracked gas – environmental & social impacts revealed


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Brussels – 24 April: A recent analysis by Food & Water Action Europe and Gas No Es Solución Network reveals a concerning trend: The overwhelming majority of liquefied ‘natural’ gas (LNG) imported to Europe from the United States in 2023 was sourced from fracking operations. According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), 88% of fossil gas extracted in the U.S. in 2023 came from fracking. Applying this percentage to the total volume of US LNG imports into the EU, American fracked gas met over 17% of the total gas demand in the EU-27 in 2023.

The report titled “LNG – LIQUEFIED FRACKED GAS: Unveiling the Toxic Truth Behind Europe’s LNG Obsession,” brings to light the environmental and social costs associated with this reliance. Fracking and LNG operations not only worsen the climate crisis but also inflict a heavy toll on frontline communities in the U.S. residing near fracking sites and LNG terminals, where environmental injustices are rampant.

From 2021 to 2023, US LNG imports tripled, with last year’s imports into the EU-27 totaling 64 billion cubic meters (bcm), comprising nearly half of the bloc’s total LNG imports. The Netherlands, France, and Spain emerged as the leading importers, collectively receiving over 38 bcm of gas, which represents over 60% of all US LNG imports to the EU. Notably, the majority of fracked gas originated from export terminals in the Gulf Coast region, particularly Texas and Louisiana. 

The EU’s voracious appetite for LNG comes at a grave cost to human rights, perpetuating environmental degradation and exacerbating social inequities. By locking ourselves into long-term LNG contracts and investing in new gas infrastructure, we betray both our climate commitments and the imperative to transition away from fossil fuels,” said Food & Water Action Europe’s Gas Campaigner Enrico Donda.

While the Biden Administration’s decision to put a pause on new LNG projects is a step forward, it won’t halt ongoing construction or reduce current LNG export capacity. Despite this, there are troubling efforts from fossil fuel companies and certain decision-makers on both sides of the Atlantic to paint LNG expansion as crucial for energy security, all while ignoring the disproportionate harm faced by affected communities and brushing aside mounting evidence of future massive LNG overcapacity. It is worth noting that in 2023, EU LNG terminal utilization rates were below 60%.

The report also exposes the paradox of EU countries: While six out of thirteen EU LNG import countries have banned fracking domestically due to environmental and health concerns, they continue to import fracked fossil gas. As the EU rushes to secure gas imports, it turns a blind eye to human rights violations and supports authoritarian regimes through new gas contracts. The solution to high energy prices and the cost of living crisis lies in a rapid just transition to 100% clean energy, not further deepening our reliance on dirty fossil fuels, which only worsen social injustices and climate change while enriching the fossil fuel industry. 

“We need to move away from fossil fuels fast, fair and forever in order to achieve climate and social justice. And especially European countries that ban gas extraction through fracking on their territories – as the Spanish state – must ban imports of this gas from third countries, so as not to externalise its serious impacts.” Marina Gros Breto, activist of the “Gas No es Solución” Spanish network.


Contact: Enrico Donda (English/Italian/French/Portuguese) – [email protected], mobile +32 (0) 485 187 523