Daniel Yergin, the premier gas and oil expert in the US has mentioned shale in the past as being so significant because of its sudden emergence. The sign of a true expert is when they tell of how wrong they were. Here in the UK, we tend to have insecure energy experts in both meanings of the word.They simply can't countenance how wrong they were while insisting against reality that gas will continue to be insecure and expensive because the changes in the US just aren't for the likes of us. Back to Yergin and lets ask ourselves why is shale one continent's game changer but not ours?:
THE DAWN OF THE SHALE GAS REVOLUTION has happened really fast, and it's happening in parts of the country that are densely populated and are not accustomed to this kind of energy development.
As for the efforts to extract the shale gas, it is extremely unlikely that any of the small amounts of chemicals that are used in the hydraulic fracturing process could go through thousands of feet of impermeable rock into the water supply.
Yergin underlines how the impact of shale energy is still not appreciated:
People in the debate have not been paying much attention to the economic significance of shale gas. If we were going to be importing large volumes of liquefied natural gas to meet demand, we'd be on track to spending $100 billion a year for that, which would be a significant addition to our trade imbalance. Shale gas in the last few years created 600,000 jobs in direct and indirect employment. There are very few industries in the United States that have created 600,000 jobs in the last five or six years.
The advent of abundant shale gas supplies is bringing back industries that have left the United States, like the petro chemical industry. And it also means lower electricity prices - at least 10 percent lower, and in some parts of the country considerably lower than that.
But in Europe, we are not allowed to have game changers. We're meant to live in a world where the mistakes of 2008 curse us for decades to come. But Yergin can see past borders:
Natural gas is really going to be the default fuel for electric generation. World consumption of natural gas tripled in 30 years, and can increase another 50 percent in the next two decades, in large part as a result of the newly tapped shale gas resources in America and around the world.
Clean, cheap and secure energy can, and will, be a world-wide phenomenon. Anyone who tells you otherwise has other, more selfish, agendas.