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This book discusses the economic, political, and environmental issues surrounding the international exploration and exploitation of conventional and unconventional natural gas. Shale gas development in recent years has changed the energy discussion in the US as existing reserves of natural gas coupled with horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing make exploitation of these reserves economically feasible; the discussion is quickly becoming international in scope. The potential expansion of natural gas development impacts many regions of the globe and spans multiple perspectives. In a volatile international climate, one of intense geopolitical conflict between Russia and the West, economic slowdowns in Europe and China, military conflicts in the Middle East and northern Africa, and widening income disparity in the U.S., a relatively inexpensive and plentiful energy source like shale gas could play a key role in mitigating such conflicts. In an energy interdependent global community, however, multiple factors such as oil prices, differing rates of exploration, environmental concerns, strategic initiatives, institutional changes, legal and regulatory issues, and actions of the nations involved all have the potential to influence future outcomes. This book discusses each of these in turn, detailing the issues most prevalent in each geographical area. The first volume to provide a comprehensive global view of the impacts of shale gas development, this book fills a gap in the current research literature, providing vital information for the scholarly community and the public alike. This book will be of interest to researchers and students of economics, energy policy, public administration, and international relations as well as policy makers and residents of the regions that are experiencing shale gas development.




The booming stories of shale gas development in the US have changed the energy discussion around the world. The supply of cheap shale natural gas from the US and potentially from other shale-abundant countries, e.g., China, Canada, Argentina, Mexico, Germany, UK, Poland, and South Africa, could completely change the energy landscape across the globe. It could have significant impact on not only energy-producing countries, but also large energy consumption countries, e.g., Japan. This chapter provides a background review of global unconventional shale gas development and its potential impacts and challenges. It introduces the breadth of topics addressed in this volume, spanning the economic, policy, and security issues surrounding unconventional gas development globally.
William E. Hefley, Yongsheng Wang

Unconventional Shale Energy and the Strategies of Nations

A dramatic shift towards unconventional shale gas as an energy source has distinct winners and losers in the international arena. Much of the literature has focused on the extent to which unconventional natural gas is transformative for markets overall, or for the power of particular states.
Theresa Sabonis-Helf

The Politics of Shale Gas and Anti-fracking Movements in France and the UK

John T. S. Keeler

Shale and Eastern Europe—Bulgaria, Romania, and Ukraine

This study uses data from diverse scientific and government sources in order to evaluate the impact of unconventional shale gas development on Bulgaria, Romania, and Ukraine in terms of economics, policy, and interdependence. In addition, the study is exploring a number of factors, related to shale gas controversies in the three countries, as well as the future potential of shale gas development in Eastern Europe.
Atanas Georgiev

Unconventional Drilling for Natural Gas in Europe

In the European countries’ quest to combat global warming and becoming less dependent on Russia for energy, they have been inspired by the natural gas boom in the USA brought about by the production of natural gas extracted from shale formations. Although relatively poor in natural gas that can be extracted by conventional means, vertical drilling, the existence of shale formations throughout much of Europe has spurred interest in unconventional drilling using hydraulic fracturing. The exploratory results up until now have been disappointing. This study includes three country-focused case studies, Poland, the United Kingdom, and Germany, which appear to be close to shale gas production, but to the extent of making them energy self-sufficient, or secure in their energy needs, that will never be realized.
Robert Dodge

Shale Development and China

China is currently the only Asian country producing shale gas commercially. Shale development in China faces both opportunities and challenges. Natural gas accounts for a small percentage of China’s energy consumption, but the vast shale gas reserve in China provides great potential for development. The lower emissions of natural gas compared to other fossil fuels present China with much needed environmental benefits. However, technological difficulties due to geological formations, water shortage, and monopolistic nature of China’s oil and gas industry tempered the incentive to invest. Market reforms and technological advancements could speed up the development of shale in China.
Haitao Guo, Yongsheng Wang, Zhongmin Wang

Shale Gas Development and Japan

As the third largest economy on the world, Japan’s energy consumption and impact on shale gas development deserves our attention and will have long-term impacts on the global economy. Japan has faced various energy challenges in recent years. In March 2011, the Great East Japan Earthquake caused a tsunami that resulted in the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear reactor meltdown and destroyed approximately 110,000 homes, partially destroyed another 140,000 homes, and damaged approximately another 500,000 homes (Japan Real Estate Institute). After the Fukushima disaster, Japan began moving away from nuclear power to alternative energy sources.
Clifford A. Lipscomb, Hisanori Nei, Yongsheng Wang, Sarah J. Kilpatrick

Can a Shale Gas Revolution Save Central and South Asia?

This chapter explores how the potential for shale gas might affect the energy landscape in the countries of Central and South Asia. Although three countries in the region—India, Kazakhstan, and Pakistan—feature significant unconventional gas reserves, none of these countries has supported drilling for these resources in any significant way. This chapter explores the reasons for the lack of active drilling, including economic and security constraints as well as the absence of a coherent policy framework in these countries that would encourage foreign investors to actively engage in the development of shale gas. Furthermore, many countries in the region—especially Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and to some extent Uzbekistan—maintain abundant conventional oil and gas supplies that reduce the urgency to develop shale gas resources. Finally, the US government has actively promoted a “Silk Road” strategy to link the economies of Central and South Asia. Part of this strategy involves the encouraging countries of Central Asia to export gas and excess hydroelectric power via Afghanistan to the countries of South Asia.
Jennifer Brick Murtazashvili

Fracking in Africa

Substantial environmental concerns have accompanied the shale boom in developed countries where the vast majority of fracking has occurred to date. There is more reason for concern in the developing world where nations enjoy far less governance capacity. This chapter presents a conceptual framework to address the governance situation in developing countries confronting hydraulic fracturing. The framework is applied to South Africa and Botswana, where shale exploration has recently begun in earnest. The chapter clarifies the governance capacity of these countries, as well as areas where institutional and regulatory quality can be improved in order to increase prospects for sustainable hydraulic fracturing.
Caitlin Corrigan, Ilia Murtazashvili

Shale Development and Mexico

The opportunities for unconventional or shale oil and gas production in Mexico remain at the earliest stages of development. The bulk of Mexico’s shale prospects appear to lie in the North and Northeastern sections of the country, where the infrastructure is often largely undeveloped. While significant hurdles remain with regard to the ultimate success of energy reform in general, and shale oil and gas development in particular. If these issues can be addressed, Mexico will be in a position to recapture its role as an energy leader in America.
Thomas Tunstall
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