WEC urges caution on shale gas revolution

WEC Secretary General Dr Christoph Frei addressed the UK Energy Summit on the changing global energy landscape, where he urged caution on replicating the shale gas revolution.

The timing for the conference, organised by The Economist on 27 June, was significant for the British energy sector as it coincided with the UK government’s announcement of its new energy infrastructure investment.

CF at UK Energy SummitThe Summit was opened with a keynote address by the UK’s Secretary of State for Energy, Ed Davey MP, who detailed some of the government’s infrastructure plans, including a significant commitment to the development of the UK’s shale gas deposits. The minister announced that the British Geological Survey has estimated that there is likely to be some 40 trillion cubic metres (1,300 trillion cubic feet) of shale gas in the ground in the Bowland Basin and beyond, which covers 11 counties in the North of England.

The shale gas revolution, driven by the US, has not only reduced US gas prices and revived industrial production, but also impacted the flow of global energy trade. This has sparked debate on whether the revolution can be replicated elsewhere.

At the conference took part in a panel discussion with Lord Lawson, the UK’s former Chancellor and Energy Secretary, and Professor Kevin Anderson, from the University of Manchester and Deputy Director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, looking at the impacts of shale gas on “Changing the World’s Energy Map” and where he gave a word of caution to the shale gas revolution.

Shale gas reportHe said after the event: “It is often easy for policymakers and commentators to get carried away with the latest fashion technology. While the recent developments in shale gas are significant, we at WEC must provide the considered view as we endeavour to support countries and businesses to provide for a balanced and sustainable energy system.”

Other highlights at the Summit included presentations from CEOs of E.ON UK, Intelligent Energy, Gazprom Marketing & Trading, and RWE npower.