As Putin's army masses in the East, Europe starts to rethink its opposition to fracking.
Russian leaders, especially Vladimir Putin, have spent years trying to persuade European countries to hold off on expanding shale gas production for the simplest of reasons: Such a shift would pose a long-term threat to Russia's energy dominance over Europe. But the Russian invasion of the Crimean peninsula is giving Europe new enthusiasm for fracking -- and potentially bringing about the exact outcome Russia has spent years trying to avoid.
The Old Continent has been largely reluctant to use the drilling technology that has enabled the U.S. energy boom despite indications that Europe sits atop plentiful shale gas reserves. Only a handful of countries, led by Poland and the U.K., have seriously considered it, while several have banned fracking altogether. There are growing signs, however, that Russia's heavy-handed antics could be changing Europe's energy calculus in fundamental ways.