Minister for Energy and Natural Resources Pat Rabbitte has said he does not expect to see a dramatic decrease in energy prices in Europe, in the short-term, as a result of shale gas extraction.

An EU official said today that EU gas prices were 27% more expensive than in the US and this was "to a very large extent" influenced by the extraction of shale gas.

However speaking in Brussels today, the minister said there was "community resistance" to the technology within the EU and he did not believe you could approach fracking in the same way as the United States.

Mr Rabbitte said the public's fears have first to be allayed, including ensuring that water quality supply will not be negatively affected by the extraction of shale gas using chemicals.

He said in Ireland, the Environmental Protection Agency was currently assessing the impacts that the technology might have and the EU was also undertaking investigations.

Mr Rabbitte is due to meet European Council President Herman Van Rompuy this evening, ahead of a summit of EU leaders on the subject of energy next week.