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The implications of the American "shale revolution" for the European energy markets

The greatest (energy) opportunity of our time?

24 January 2013, 6 - 9 PM CET

TUSIAD Avenue des Gaulois, 13, Brussels 1040

Several years ago, very senior executives at the world's leading oil companies entertained private discussions about the nature of the "shale revolution" emerging in America. Although such discussions have now evolved into lively policy debates amongst decision makers and energy experts alike, many questions about the true scale of the shale energy revolution are yet to be answered.

There is evidence to suggest that the "shale revolution" may help the US become the world"s leading oil producer by 2020 and energy production is already becoming cheaper and more abundant in the country. This could, in itself, put downward pressure on global oil prices and, possibly, alter geopolitical relations between leading nations. That being said, few qualified studies are bullish enough to conclude that oil prices are likely to fall in the evolving (hydrocarbons) demand environment. While the "shale energy revolution" and subsequent resurgence of oil and gas production in the US are likely to move America towards greater levels of energy independence, there is little evidence to suggest that, for example, demand for Gulf hydrocarbons in fast growing Asia has reached its peak.

During an interactive discussion held by the Brussels Energy Club on January 24, Alan Riley explained what this would-be "turning of the tide" in the global oil and gas producer-consumer relationship means for European energy security. Moreover, while some critics fear that Europe is — largely due to environmental and regulatory reasons — missing out on the benefits of the "shale revolution", Professor Riley further assessed the likelihood of a "second stage" shale phenomenon reaching Europe in the form of LNG. Referring to his own substantive research into the topic as well as analysis of the latest international assessments, Professor Riley outlined core messages that the shale transformation will likely have for the European energy markets, whilst helping industry professionals come to grips with the necessary strategies to address what could yet materialise as the "greatest (energy) opportunity of our time".


Professor, City Law School, City University, London




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