The International Energy Agency said unconventional reserves may account for 40 percent of gas demand and 14 percent of oil demand by 2035. Ireland imports all of its oil and relies in foreign sources for 90 percent of its natural gas needs.
Rabbitte told an informal meeting of European ministers in Dublin that Ireland was watching the U.S. shale natural gas boom and comparing notes with EU officials on efforts to match the U.S. success.
"We have taken note of the remarkable impact of new gas discoveries including shale gas on the U.S. energy market," he said. "Several EU member states are weighing the benefits and risks of exploiting shale gas reserves."
Irish Environment Minister Phil Hogan said he was pleased to host a European meeting on what he said would be a "safe and sustainable low-carbon future."
The European Union in 2009 adopted a goal of relying on renewable energy to meet 20 percent of the overall energy needs by 2020.
EU Energy Commissioner Gunther Oettinger said last month that member states need to work on 2030 climate and energy goals as it addresses the long-term goal of cutting emissions by as much as 95 percent by 2050.
A progress report from the European government said progress on reaching the 2020 targets was slow because of the financial crisis gripping the eurozone.