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The political crisis in Ukraine has forced many European nations to reconsider their dependence on Russia for energy. Some nations are looking at new ways to recover natural gas at home. These methods include a disputed process known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. The process involves the use of liquid chemicals to break rock. Experts believe Europe might have trillions of cubic meters of shale gas. Shale is a kind of gas-bearing rock. France, Poland and Ukraine are thought to have the largest amounts of shale gas. Large supplies have been found in Romania, Bulgaria and the United Kingdom. Lucia Seybert is with the Wilson Center in Washington. She says large shale gas reserves and political problems in Ukraine have increased interest in Europe’s shale gas. But, Europe is believed to be years away from major shale gas production. Poland, the United Kingdom and Romania are expected to start exploration by 2020. Removing shale gas through hydraulic fracking is the subject of often intense debate. Most drilling areas in Europe are near populated areas. And environmental groups have raised concerns about water and air pollution from fracking. Much of Europe’s gas flows through a pipeline from Russia across Ukraine. But Ukraine has had difficulty paying Russia’s Gazprom energy company. And early this year, Ukrainian protesters ousted the country’s pro-Russia president. The new government signed economic agreements with the European Union, over Russian objections. Now, Russia has signaled it may cut off gas to Ukraine, and to much of Europe.