Europe is at a competitive disadvantage because of a reluctance to take risks on offshore oil drilling and tar sands, and a failure to fully explore its shale gas options, EU Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger says. “In the US there’s a process to re-industrialise the country first by oil. They accept some risks with offshore drilling for ‘own sources’ in the Gulf of Mexico and they accept [tar] sand oils and others,” the commissioner said. By contrast, “we import oil and have high taxation.” The result is that Europe’s transport and industrial sectors are disadvantaged, Oettinger said. He argues that since the US used shale to reduce its dependence on cheap imports from Qatar and Nigeria, North Americans now pay roughly 30% of the European gas price. “We are not really active in looking at which risks and options we would have with shale gas,” he added.