Daily Archives: January 26, 2012

Shale gas will impact on world harmony

The USA is going full out for shale gas. As well as creating jobs, stimulating growth, and reducing costs and CO2 emissions, they expect fully to achieve energy independence from unstable and hostile regions such as the Middle East so it is as much a security goal as an economic or environmental one. Europe is still trying to be greener-than-thou so will be a bit later converting to shale gas, but the pressure to do so is increasing and it also wants to be free from relying on hostile or unstable suppliers. It will go the same way soon. China is also looking at new energy sources, even more diversely, so also won’t need these regions for supply to the same degree.

The Middle East and Russia will see huge drops in income from other regions as their oil and gas is no longer needed. As their income drops, internal pressures will rise, and they are likely to become more volatile. Since the rest of the world won’t need them so much, they are likely to see themselves cut off from the rest of the world. There will be less pressure on Western governments to ignore  abuses of human rights, or harbouring of terrorist groups, or any other trouble making. Alienation will increase. Russia will still be tolerated because of its power in other spheres, and is a growing market due to other development routes, but its energy income will certainly fall. The Middle East won’t justify the same concessions and will be even more cut off.

There are far greater political analysts than me, so I’ll leave it here, but this sudden new access to new and cheap energy supplies on our own doorsteps will have a major effect on the world order.