The Global Impact of US Shale

The biggest innovation in energy so far this century has been the development of shale gas and the closely associated resource known as “tight oil.” Indeed, the emergence of shale gas and tight oil in the US demonstrates, once again, how innovation can change the balance of global economic and political power.

WASHINGTON, DC – The biggest innovation in energy so far this century has been the development of shale gas and the associated resource known as “tight oil.” Shale energy ranks at the top not only because of its abundance in the United States, but also because of its profound global impact – as events in 2014 will continue to demonstrate.

America’s shale gas and tight oil are already changing global energy markets and reducing both Europe’s competitiveness vis-à-vis the US and China’s overall manufacturing competitiveness. They are also bringing shifts in global politics. Indeed, how shale energy may change America’s role in the Middle East is becoming a hot topic in Washington, DC, and in the Middle East itself.

This “unconventional revolution” in oil and gas did not come quickly. Hydraulic fracturing – known as “fracking” – has been around since 1947, and initial efforts to adapt it to dense shale began in Texas in the early 1980’s. But it was not until the late 1990’s and early 2000’s that the specific type of fracturing for shale, combined with horizontal drilling, was perfected. And it was not until 2008 that its impact on the US energy supply became notable.

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