Harvard/Rice Study Explores Scenarios for Future of Natural Gas
June 8, 2012
Author: Jonas Meckling, Former Research Fellow, Geopolitics of Energy Project, 2010–2012; Harvard Project on Climate Agreements, 2009–2010; Energy Technology Innovation Policy research group, 2007–2009
Belfer Center Programs or Projects: The Geopolitics of Energy Project
On May 9 and 10, the Geopolitics of Natural Gas study had its third workshop to develop scenarios for the geopolitics of natural gas. This time the members of the two-year joint Harvard/Rice project met at the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy at Rice University in Houston. The two-day session brought together experts on major gas producer and consumer countries, economists specialized in world gas modelling and industry representatives. On day one of the workshop, the group explored the dynamics of the politics and economics of gas for major world regions. The discussion served the purpose to better understand regional inter-linkages and trends. On day two, Wim Thomas, Chief Energy Advisor of Shell, facilitated a scenario planning exercise for the future of natural gas, looking at the time horizons 2015, 2020 and 2030. Participants developed four global scenarios, which differed along two dimensions: the level of success of bringing unconventional gas to the market and the level of global integration of world gas trade. The scenario planning exercise offered critical insights into distinctly different trajectories for the future of gas markets depending on political developments in key producer and consumer countries. Over the course of the next year, this major study will flesh out the country cases and global scenarios.
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