22 May 2014 - 24 May 2014

The shale gas energy revolution and geopolitics

Chair: Professor Nick Butler

As the rain teemed down on a soggy Ditchley Park, we looked at how far the widespread availability – actual and potential – of shale gas and tight oil was turning the world upside down. We had an experienced and diverse group around the table, even though some points of view (oil companies and emerging economies) were under-represented. We were also much helped by expert and disciplined chairmanship. There was quite a lot of agreement to be heard, including on the importance of what we were talking about, but the uncertainties and complexities of such a global phenomenon made simple policy conclusions hard to reach.

The shale revolution, if that is what it is, is still at an early stage, with real exploration and production so far confined to North America. It has certainly had a dramatic effect in the US, but there remain many questions about the extent of reserves elsewhere, and when and how they might be extracted. Fracking’s negative consequences have been exaggerated overall, but local concerns in particular do need to be addressed transparently and effectively.

The effects on the global energy market remain unpredictable. Downward pressure on gas prices is likely to continue, but we are still a long way from a global price for gas or a spot market. LNG trade is likely to rise, but long-term contracts will still be needed, given the cost of the infrastructure, though not necessarily at fixed rates. Gas is replacing coal in the US, and may do so elsewhere in the long run, but coal will still be cheap and attractive for many markets. Gas may start to displace oil too, for example in the transport market, but that is again a long-term and uncertain process. The biggest question, but also the biggest uncertainty, is the effect on renewables.

In economic terms, there has already been a big, positive impact on the US, but the effect elsewhere is less clear. The availability of cheap energy should be good for the global economy, but ultimately that will depend on the impact on the fight against climate change. In the short term, and in the US, the effect is positive in reducing emissions from power generation, and opening a new political space for US Administration environmental policy. However, the change of overall political context from one of peak oil/gas to one of hydrocarbon plenty threatens to undermine polices to mitigate climate change.

The geopolitical effects are also only now beginning to show. Less fierce competition for energy resources should be good for the prospects of international peace and prosperity. The balance of power between traditional oil producers and consumers, and between international oil companies and resource nationalists, is also changing, as resources become available in a wider, and arguably politically safer, range of countries. Oil and gas may be less readily usable as a tool of foreign policy (always a doubtful proposition in any case). For the US, shale gas has already increased self-confidence, and should dent the common international narrative of US decline. The US is certainly the main winner for now, but China could be an even bigger winner in the long term. Losers include Russia, for now, and other traditional producers.

For the future we looked at a number of indicators to watch in order to see how far and how fast the shale revolution is progressing, including the scale of investment outside the US, the trend of gas prices and their differentiation from oil prices, and consumption changes. On the whole we thought the shale revolution was and would be a good thing, except for the large question mark over its impact on climate change policy.

Does shale energy amount to a revolution?
There was no doubt of the dramatic effect of shale gas on the US energy market, with gas and electricity prices falling, and coal being squeezed out; and on US economic and political calculations and confidence. This obviously had significant knock-on effects in the rest of the world. It was also a reality in Canada.

However, it was less clear that this was yet an international revolution. We were regularly reminded that shale gas had not so far been developed anywhere outside North America on any scale. Very few wells had been drilled (for example only two in the UK), and little or no gas actually produced. There was no doubt that shale gas and tight oil reserves were extensive and to be found in many places around the world. It was a reasonable assumption that many of these would be developed, and would produce a lot of new gas and oil. The earth’s crust was full of hydrocarbons, and new technology, developing all the time, meant that we could go on extracting more of them at costs likely to be competitive with other sources of energy. This perception, including the potential move away from reliance on traditional oil and gas producers in difficult political contexts, was certainly revolutionising much traditional thinking. But it was still rather ahead of the actual state of play in terms of exploration and production.

Even in North America, there were still many uncertainties. There were, for example, suggestions that shale gas production might already be peaking, or that low local prices were making some production uneconomic. The key point was that there were many unpredictable factors surrounding the development of the global reserves, for example:

  • How big were these reserves? Estimates varied very widely, and the ranges in even the more conservative estimates remained extraordinarily wide. It was hard to be sure how much extractable oil and gas was really there until many wells had been drilled in a particular area, and even then the level of uncertainty would probably remain high;
  • What proportion of the hydrocarbons in any given area was recoverable at reasonable cost? There was no simple answer to this, as evolving technology and fluctuating demand/price constantly changed the calculation, but for now the percentages cited were low – less than 10% in some cases.
  • How far could the conditions which had combined to create the US boom be replicated elsewhere? There had been a serendipitous and conducive set of factors in the US, including not only appropriate geology, but also a favourable legal and regulatory structure, mineral rights laws which incentivised exploration, easy access to infrastructure and services, availability of water (in most places), and a helpful business and financial climate. The lack of private ownership of sub-surface rights elsewhere was not necessarily a deal-breaker, for example in Europe, but it would make it significantly harder to achieve local acceptance. Elsewhere lack of water in the areas to be exploited could be a big problem (e.g. China), although the greater ability of a command economy to overcome local objections could be important, or strategic interest might be an overriding factor (eg Poland/western Ukraine).
  • If abundance started to drive prices down, how far would it remain economic and financeable to extract shale gas and tight oil, especially if we moved out of the current extremely low interest rates environment? Of course the long-term bet would be on continuing demand for these hydrocarbons (leaving aside the climate change arguments, which are looked at separately later in the report), but there could still be periods when exploration and extraction became uneconomic.

We spent quite a lot of time on the arguments about the social acceptability of techniques like fracking. Our overall view was that many of the current general arguments against fracking were exaggerated and not justified by the facts as we knew them. For example, the amounts of water involved were not huge in the broader scheme of things (1% of the water used in Colorado, for example), particularly compared to amounts used on arguably less important activities or products – watering lawns, golf courses, producing bottles of Coca-Cola etc.  Earthquakes of any scale could be avoided in most areas. Methane release was only significant in a few cases.

However, this was not to say that these issues were not there. The point was that if appropriate care was taken, serious negative effects could be avoided and the risks of low probability/high impact events minimised. Good regulation had a role to play in this. The fact that the fracking industry would tend to be judged on the basis of its worst performer should be a powerful incentive on companies to make sure not only that their own houses were in order, but that those of others in the business were too. Standards of good practice needed to be established. We wondered whether there was a place for an independent source of facts and figures on fracking, given the widespread suspicion of most of those currently engaged in the debate, on both sides, but were not sure who this could really be.

Moreover, even if the risks, looked at globally, seemed on the whole acceptable and manageable, that did not mean that local concerns were not often soundly-based as well as deeply-felt. For example, community fears over increased traffic, noise and environmental damage, particularly once production had started, were often legitimate, especially in densely populated areas, and not easily dismissed. Water use could be significant in terms of a local watershed. The industry needed to be open and transparent about its data, and to communicate more and better to local communities, to match the downsides, and persuade them of the advantages. There were not usually many locally-fillable jobs involved, but financial incentives (impact payments), not just to individuals but for community benefits, could be a useful tool in moderating opposition. Overall it could not be reasonable that NIMBY-style objections simply prevented development of something in the wider national/international economic interest.

Effects on the international energy market
This debate was shot through with the same uncertainties already aired. Many of the potential effects of shale energy on the market were linked to price, and predicting oil and gas prices had proved virtually impossible, in any meaningful sense, for many years. Nevertheless some important and interesting points could be made:

  • The oil price had been unusually stable in the last couple of years. It was too soon to say that it had been stabilised by the prospects or reality of shale energy. But several participants argued that, had it not been for this extra supply on the market, the oil price would have been nearer $140 per barrel than its current $100-$110 range.
  • There was evidence that shale gas was beginning to exert a significant downward pressure on gas prices, outside the obvious case of the US itself, as could be seen from the quiet renegotiation of contracts under way in several markets. There was no global gas price for now, and little prospect of one for a long time, but the differentials between the different markets looked likely to narrow over time. The trend towards de-linking gas prices from oil prices also looked likely to continue, though again this would be more marked in some regions (e.g. Western Europe) than others (e.g. Asia, Eastern Europe).

There was a good deal of discussion of the likelihood of the development of a more global gas market through the wider availability of LNG, particularly from the US. This was no doubt the direction of travel but there were many constraints, for example:

  • Significant extra supplies of LNG were unlikely to be available in practice until 2019/20.
  • LNG infrastructure was expensive, for both exporter and importer, and would only be built on a large scale if the market prospects were genuinely attractive in the long term (and capital remained cheap).
  • LNG suppliers would therefore still want long-term contracts (though not necessarily at guaranteed long-term prices), which would inhibit the development of a spot market, with flexible destinations for LNG carriers.

The market would be the decisive factor in all this, though governments could have a role to play, for example through willingness to allow exports (the US), or strategic desire for diversification (some countries in Europe, to reduce dependence on Russian gas).

One big question was how far gas might take the place of, or reduce the market share of, other fuels. Coal for power generation in the US was already an obvious example, but one knock-on effect of this was the greater availability of cheap coal elsewhere in the world, which could increase coal use in the short term, particularly where gas prices were high (Asia). Coal would remain a major fuel source for many countries for a long time to come, particularly in Asia but also in Europe.

Would gas start to replace oil, not only for domestic heating but also for transport use? It was potentially more efficient as well as cheaper, but obviously required infrastructure investment. There were some early signs of possible change, e.g. on the railways in the US. In general gas and oil use seemed likely to diverge, the former rising while the latter fell.

Nuclear energy looked like a loser in the US, but elsewhere, notably in Asia, high gas prices made nuclear energy still an attractive option.

The effect on renewables was a major unknown. In power generation, use of gas could be a good combination with renewables, helping overcome intermittency issues through rapidly available base load. But if other policies did not reduce the attractiveness of hydrocarbon use, cheap gas could also crowd out renewables in some markets. This is discussed in more detail below.

We also debated the impact of widely available shale energy on the power balance in the global market between international companies and “resource nationalists”. On the whole, we thought that the latter were likely to find themselves in a weaker position. If the new resources were spread widely around the world, including in more politically stable areas such as the US, Australia, Europe and parts of South America, international companies obviously had more choices and could opt to ignore reserves in difficult/expensive places, especially if the contractual obligations were too tough. This might for example mean ignoring the temptations of Iraq or Venezuela, for political reasons, or deep pre-salt in Brazil, for cost reasons. Implications of this sort were only just beginning to sink in and to be reflected in negotiations.

A different angle on this was the question of how well-suited the international oil majors were to the challenges of shale gas/tight oil. There was a view that small companies, hungrier and more agile/flexible, were more likely to relish the challenge of a lot of small wells than the oil giants, whose business model tended to focus on operating at the margins of the physically possible where large resources were located. Certainly this was what had happened in the US shale boom. But others suggested that the big companies, having missed out in the US, were doubly determined to make up for that elsewhere.

The economic effects
There had clearly been a significant economic effect in the US, in terms of less reliance on outside energy suppliers, a balance of payments boost, and greater competiveness of US industry because of lower energy costs. The US was in a stronger position as a result, including in international trade negotiations. There had also been claims of a significant boost to US manufacturing, and to the phenomenon of “re-shoring” of production. It was not yet clear how far this was actually the case, despite the media hype surrounding it. The evidence was mainly anecdotal. Energy-intensive industries were important beneficiaries, but they represented a relatively small proportion of the US economy. Otherwise energy costs were only one of many factors affecting production location decisions. Moreover, it was not usually the case that economies could enjoy a natural resource boom and a manufacturing boom at the same time.

We did not think that energy independence was a meaningful concept, given the complexity, interdependence, and global nature of energy markets. The US could achieve net zero in imports/exports, or self-sufficiency in physical terms, at some points, but the political significance of this was less than might appear at first sight, not least given the importance of energy supplies for its friends and allies. Nevertheless, policies such as the maintenance of an expensive Strategic Petroleum Reserve should be able to be revisited.

The economic effects for the rest of the world were more in the realms of speculation for the time being. In principle the availability of plentiful and relatively cheap energy should be good for the global economy, with positive effects on overall prosperity levels, on areas of concern such as food security (the availability of reasonably priced energy and fertiliser being critical to the future necessary increase of food production), and on access to energy for hundreds of millions of people around the world currently deprived of it. In practice, and in the long term, this would have to be weighed against the potentially damaging effects on the struggle against the impact on climate change of widespread continued use of hydrocarbons.

For individual countries or regions, similarly complex considerations applied. The domestic availability of large quantities of relatively affordable energy would obviously be beneficial for countries like China or Japan, otherwise condemned to endless expensive and difficult to guarantee imports of oil and gas. Most countries with exploitable shale resources would presumably benefit in GDP and balance of payments terms if they managed to extract them in significant quantities. But this ignored the potential impact of the resources curse or Dutch disease, where the availability of natural plenty led to inflation, killed innovation and economic diversity, and encouraged rent-seeking and corruption. Countries with developed, diverse economies should be most resistant to this, but some emerging economies or countries with excessive existing dependence on oil and gas such as Russia, and some countries in Africa, could be very vulnerable.

It was difficult in any case to separate out the purely economic effects from the wider geopolitical impacts. These are considered in a separate section below, which also attempts to reach some conclusions about likely winners and losers.

The environmental consequences
We kept coming back to one key point: the consequences of a shale boom for the environment and particularly for international efforts to combat climate change. In the US context, in the short term, there was agreement that the consequences were positive. Gas replacing coal for power generation would reduce US emissions significantly for a number of years. It had also opened up some political space for those supporting action against climate change, not least the Obama administration itself. If environmental legislation moved decisively against coal use, as now seemed possible, indeed likely (and was confirmed by President Obama’s proposals a few days after the conference), this would have significant further beneficial effects in the US. The current trend might also enable the Administration to adopt a more positive approach to international agreement on emissions reduction and even a carbon price in Paris in 2015, and make possible a US/China understanding on these issues. This would be a major gain.

If shale gas were developed on a large scale elsewhere, particularly in China and India, and displaced coal use on a significant scale there too, that would also be very important. In other words shale gas could be an important bridge to really effective climate change action.

However it was also possible that its overall environmental impact in the longer term would be negative. The change of the overall political context for climate change action, from one of peak oil/gas shortages and unacceptably high prices to one of hydrocarbon plenty for the foreseeable future, was a massive shift. At the same time the urgency of the need for climate change action had not reduced at all – on the contrary. The target of decarbonising most human activity, particularly power generation, by 2050, just to keep global warming to no more than 2ºC, already looked highly ambitious. The availability of relatively cheap hydrocarbons on a large scale meant achieving it would require an even greater degree of political will and radical action.

Even in the short term, the effect of the shale gas boom in the US had been to increase the availability of cheap coal elsewhere, including in Europe. Countries and companies were going to find it difficult, to say the least, to resist this temptation. Even if shale gas could be introduced on a large scale in China and India, coal use would probably remain large, on both price and availability grounds, and in both countries it was likely to go on rising sharply in the short term. This was all the more serious given that the long-hoped for solution for inevitable continued coal use, namely carbon capture and storage (CCS),  looked unlikely to materialise on anything like the required scale, for cost and other reasons.

The geopolitical consequences
We found it difficult to be too precise about these when the shale “boom” was still at such an early stage, confined essentially to North America. We were reminded that the boom, if that was what it turned out to be, was a process, not an event, and a process currently still very close to its beginnings. Nevertheless we could and did try to draw some preliminary broad geopolitical conclusions.

The first was the idea that greater availability of hydrocarbon resources, of both gas and oil, should lead to less fierce competition for these resources, and should therefore have a positive effect on international relations. For example, if China were less worried about the need to ensure guaranteed access to these resources, she would have less need to be aggressive in the modern-day version of the scramble for Africa. She might also be more relaxed about territorial disputes in surrounding waters, such as the South China and East China Seas, although most round the table saw her behaviour there as driven more by sovereignty concerns and national pride than worry about the oil and gas which might be found in the disputed areas.

A second common thought was that the balance of power between traditional oil and gas producers and consuming countries would shift, given the ubiquity of shale resources. OPEC and Russia would have less ability to shape the market and to use their oligopoly power in other more political ways too. Co-operation between producers and consumers could increase as a result, which should be positive.

This led to an interesting discussion of the extent to which oil and gas could in fact be used as a political weapon or tool. OPEC efforts to do this in the past, for example in the 1970s, had been at most partially successful: they had certainly had a big short-term impact on the global economy through massive price rises, but they had not achieved their immediate political goal of forcing a western change of heart on Israel in any meaningful sense - and the price weapon had blown up in OPEC’s face in the longer term through a combination of reduced demand, and development of alternative sources.

Russia had long seen oil and gas as an integral part of her foreign policy, and had not hesitated to use this power in relation to her immediate neighbours, including Ukraine. However, long-term supplier relationships created dependence at both ends of the chain – Russia depended on European markets for her gas as much as Europe depended on Russia, and Russia had been extremely careful never (so far) to use this potential weapon with its main (West) European customers. Of course such a weapon did not need to be used to be effective, since there was always a fear that it could be so used, which influenced behaviour.

In this context we spent some time on the Russia-China gas deal, signed the day before our conference began. Did it signify a ‘tectonic shift’ in global alliances? Had China taken advantage of the evident Russian desire to show that they had alternatives to the European market to drive a highly advantageous bargain for themselves? On the whole, we took a relatively relaxed view: the price was good for China, but not dramatically so, as far as we could tell; Russia and China would continue to have plenty of other areas of disagreement and suspicion; the gas involved could not be sold to Europe anyway, as it came from eastern Siberia; it would be 5-10 years before any gas could actually flow. It was suggested that the price might also be better than appeared for Gazprom, because the tax demands on them would probably be relaxed – though that would be bad for the Russian finance ministry.

Use of energy as a tool of policy was perhaps more common – Venezuela and Petrocaribe was one obvious example. Qatar also made use of its oil and gas wealth to increase its weight on the international stage, as had Iran before sanctions had begun to bite. Who would take Saudi Arabia as seriously as she was taken were it not for her oil and the resulting wealth? The shale boom was likely to reduce the opportunities for behaviour of this kind, which would be seen by many, at least in the West, as positive – though others would argue that western countries used their own economic power for political ends, so where was the difference?

In general we thought that trying to use energy as a tool of policy usually led to unintended negative consequences, and the idea needed to be treated with great care.

The third area of interest was the effect on the US. Many participants thought one significant impact of shale gas was an increase in US self-confidence, and a dent in the widespread international perception of the US as a power in decline. Could the US herself use hydrocarbons as a political tool, for example by trying to ensure that Europe had access to US LNG exports to reduce dependence on Russian gas? Most participants were doubtful. LNG exports would flow where the price was highest, which was likely to be Asia, for the most part, and the US Administration were unlikely to try to interfere much in this. They did of course have a role through the granting of licences to export, but most again thought that these would be granted in any event, though the process could remain slow.

We also discussed whether the shale boom was leading/would lead the US to take less interest in the Middle East, because of reduced dependence on Middle East oil. The consensus was that it would not. She had too many other interests there to protect, including the oil and gas routes for her allies – which increasingly included the Suez Canal. We therefore expected relatively little change in her level of engagement or presence. However, it did mean that the US could afford to ignore e.g. Saudi unhappiness with US policy rather more easily.

One interesting sub-plot in all this was the extent to which the US would see it as in her interest to help China develop her own shale deposits, for example by easing technology transfer and encouraging investment. This might make sense for both climate change and political reasons, to reduce Chinese coal use and concern about access to energy resources, and to undermine (in the long-term) any tendency towards China-Russia closeness and mutual dependence. The dominant view was that this was genuinely an opportunity for positive US-China co-operation. However some suggested that the world was not usually as cuddly a place as that kind of reasoning suggested, and that the dynamic of US-China global rivalry might be more important than we were allowing.

So who did we think would be winners and losers, looking at the picture overall?

  • The US was seen as the big winner for now, economically and politically. Canada too.
  • In the long run, assuming her resources could be exploited, China could be the biggest winner.
  • Russia was the big loser on the gas front, for now, but there were two long-term (and contradictory) caveats to this: a decline in Russia’s oil and gas revenues could force the economic reform and diversification she desperately needed; and Russia had the biggest shale deposits in the world, for the very long-term, and could still have the last laugh (her policy on opening up these reserves changed in a positive direction shortly after the end of the conference).
  • Europe was stranded somewhere in the middle, needing to reduce dependence on Russian gas, and with resources which could be exploited but might well not be for social/political reasons. She needed a more unified energy policy (albeit one which would continue to allow individual countries their own choice of energy mix) but we were doubtful this would happen in practice. She also needed to spend money on integrating infrastructure, but probably would not.
  • The traditional oil producers in the Gulf and elsewhere were seen as losers, because of the reduction in their oligopoly power, together with other producing countries presenting high political risk (Venezuela, Bolivia…). Could this increase the risks of instability in some of the countries concerned, if they could no longer buy off their populations? Quite possibly.
  • Other losers in the short to medium term could include those with large but expensive “traditional” oil and gas sources (Brazil’s deep salt etc.). However countries like Brazil and Argentina also had major potential shale reserves and could be long-term winners, particularly if the energy could be used to kick-start other major resource developments in the mining sector.
  • Sub-Sahara Africa attracted relatively little discussion. Access to energy should increase, which could be very important for development and prosperity for many African countries, but some African countries were also particularly vulnerable to the resource curse.

The other big question was the effect of the expected shale boom on renewables. Would they be crowded out, in the absence of determined government policies to support and subsidise them, by cheap hydrocarbons? Many round the table feared this might be the effect, though it was agreed that gas for power generation was an excellent complement to intermittent sources like solar and wind power. Some also suggested that the cost of renewables, particularly solar power, was coming down so fast that they could still be competitive with shale energy.

We had no time to discuss all this in detail, and certainly no simple answers. But we were left with an uneasy feeling that decarbonising the global economy was not in the end going to be made easier by the advent of widely available shale energy. We were also aware that other technological developments, for example making possible the recovery of methane hydrates, or the large-scale storage of electricity, could change the picture again in dramatic ways.

Indicators to watch
We had no neat policy options to recommend for such a large, complex and multifaceted issue, and were also conscious that not only were the policy choices facing different governments very different, but the dynamics of the situation were constantly changing. We therefore tried to identify some major indicators to watch, to illustrate how the situation was developing:

  • The scale of investment in shale energy outside the US, and entrepreneurs looking for such opportunities
  • Changes in global gas prices, and differentiation from oil prices
  • The development of a global LNG market
  • The pace of shale investment and development in China
  • The scale of oil/gas service companies’ move into shale producing areas (as a lead indicator)
  • The development of more relevant  infrastructure in places like Europe
  • Moves in the transport sector to adopt natural gas instead of oil
  • International oil majors’ own investment in shale exploration and development.

On the whole we were positive about moving ahead with further shale energy development, while working to mitigate both the local consequences for affected communities and the potentially negative effects for climate change policy. We were also in favour of international co-operation between key players to help this happen, and hoped that less competition in the energy field would help create a more stable and prosperous international order. But we were not entirely confident that this would be the result.

This Note reflects the Director’s personal impressions of the conference. No participant is in any way committed to its content or expression.


CHAIR: Professor Nick Butler
Visiting Professor, Kings College London; writer of 'Energy and Power' blog, Financial Times. Formerly: Group Vice President for Strategy and Policy, BP (2002-07); Senior Policy Adviser to the Prime Minister (2009-10); Special Adviser to the House of Lords Select Committee inquiry on the economic implications of shale gas (report published in May 2014).

Ms Sarin Abado
National Expert, Austrian Energy Regulatory Authority (E-Control); Council of European Energy Regulators (on secondment), Brussels. Formerly: Energy Consultant, ATF Bank/UniCredit Group, Kazakhstan; Trainee, EU-delegation to Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan; Research Assistant, Gulf Research Center; Research Intern, Energy Community Secretariat.

Mr Danila Bochkarev
Fellow, Global Security Team, EastWest Institute, Brussels. Formerly: Inbev Scholar for EU-Russia relations, University of Louvain-la Neuve and University of Leuven; China and Central Asia affairs, European Parliament.

Dr Ian Brodie 
Research Director, School of Public Policy, University of Calgary (2013-). Formerly: Strategic Advisor, Inter-American Development Bank (2009-13); Chief of Staff to the Prime Minister; Executive Director, the Conservative Party of Canada.
Professor Mark Jaccard 
Professor, School of Resource and Environmental Management, Simon Fraser University (1986-). Formerly: China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development (1993-2001, 2008-09); Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (1993-96, 2008-09); Chair and CEO, British Columbia Utilities Commission (1992-97).
Dr Stephen Lucas 
Assistant Secretary to the Cabinet, Economic and Regional Development Policy, Privy Council Office, Ottawa (2013-). Formerly: Assistant Deputy Minister, Science and Policy Integration, Natural Resources Canada (2009-13); Assistant Deputy Minister, Minerals and Metals, Natural Resources Canada (2007-09); Health Canada, Natural Resources Canada; Geological Survey of Canada.
Mr Shawn McCarthy 
National Business Correspondent and Global Energy Reporter, The Globe and Mail, Toronto. Formerly: New York Bureau Chief (2003-06); Parliamentary Bureau Chief, Ottawa (2000-03).

Mr Christophe-Alexandre Paillard 
Deputy Director, Strategic Affairs Directorate, Ministry of Defence. Formerly: Director, Legal, International and Technological Affairs, National Commission for Information Technology and Freedoms (CNIL); Adviser, Defence Economic Council; Senior Lecturer: ENA, Sciences-Po, Paris, and Universidad Bernardo O'Higgins, Santiago; Author. Formerly: Technical Adviser, Cabinet of the Secretary of State for European Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Paris (2009-11); Financial Adviser to the Minister of Immigration, Integration and Public Development; Senior Expert for Economic Affairs, National Defence General Secretariat, Paris; Head, Industrial and Technological Trends Department, Strategic Affairs Office, Ministry of Defence (2004-07).

Ms Michaela Spaeth 
German Diplomatic Service (1987-): Head of Division, Energy and Raw Materials Foreign Policy, German Federal Foreign Office (2012-). Formerly: Head, Cultural Section, German Embassy, Warsaw (2010-12); Renewable Energy, International Renewable Energy Agency, raw materials portfolio, Energy Department, German Federal Foreign Office (2008-10); John F. Kennedy School, Harvard University(2006-07); Exchange programme, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, London (1993-97).
Mr Michael Thumann 
Die Zeit: Diplomatic Correspondent; advisory council member, Kennan Institute, Washington DC. Formerly: Die Zeit: Middle East Bureau Chief, Istanbul; Foreign Editor, Hamburg; Moscow Bureau Chief (1996-2001); Correspondent, South East Europe.

Ms Kristine Berzina 
Programme Officer, Energy and Society, German Marshall Fund of the United States; Associate Fellow, Latvian Institute for International Affairs. Formerly: Consultant, Energy Policy and Transatlantic Relations, Berlin; Transatlantic Fellow, Ecologic Institute; Research Analyst, Population Action International.

Dr Tim Boersma 
Fellow, Energy Security Initiative, Foreign Policy program, Brookings Institution. Formerly: Non-Resident Fellow, German Marshall Fund of the United States; Junior Fellow, Transatlantic Academy (2011-12); Corporate Counsel, Brabers, Netherlands (2006-11).

Mr Olatunji Yusuf 
Weidenfeld Scholar (2013-14); MSc. Candidate, Environmental Change and Management, Environmental Change Institute, School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford.

Dr Fuzuo Wu 
Oxford-Princeton Global Leaders Fellow, Princeton University (2012-14).

Dr Tatiana Mitrova 
Head, Oil and Gas Department, Energy Research Institute, Russian Academy of Sciences; member, Governmental Commission, Russian Federation on fuel and energy complex; member, Russian Council on Foreign and Defense Policy; member, Valdai Club. Formerly: Head of Global Energy, Skolkovo Energy Centre (2011-12); Head, Center for International Energy Markets Studies, Energy Research Institute, Russian Academy of Sciences (2006-11).

Mr Aaron Maniam 
Master of Public Policy Candidate, Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford; Adjunct Faculty Member, National University of Singapore. Formerly: Administrative Service, Government of Singapore: Director, Institute of Policy Development, Civil Service College (2011-). Formerly: Head, Centre for Strategic Futures, Prime Minister's Office (2010-11); Strategic Policy Office, Public Service Division (2008-11); Singapore Foreign Service: principal coordinator for Congressional liaison and issues relating to the Middle East, Embassy of Singapore, Washington DC (2006-08); North America Desk, Singapore (2004-06).
Mr Mark Boris Andrijanic 
Master in Public Policy Candidate, Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford. Formerly: Head, Network of Ideas Association; research internships: Atlas Economic Research Foundation and Cato Institute, Washington, DC.

The Lord Aldington 
Trustee, Institute for Philanthropy (2008-); Vice President, National Churches Trust (2008-); Trustee, Royal Academy Trust (2003-); Chairman, 2019 Committee, New College, Oxford. Formerly: Chairman, Deutsche Bank London (2002-09); Chairman, Stramongate Ltd (2007-11); Member, Chairman's Committee, British Bankers' Association (2003-09); Member, Council of the British-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry (1995-2008). A Governor and member of the Council of Management and Business Committee and Chairman of the Finance and General Purposes Committee of The Ditchley Foundation.
Mr Richard Bridge 
Head of Government and Political Affairs, BP plc (2011-). Formerly: HM Diplomatic Service (1984-2011).
Dr Dougal Goodman OBE FREng 
Chief Executive, The Foundation for Science and Technology; non-executive Chairman, The Lighthill Risk Network; member, Royal Society/Royal Academy of Engineering Shale Gas Inquiry Committee; member, Public Affairs Committee, and Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering; Fellow: Institution of Civil Engineers, Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining, and Institute of Physics; Visiting Professor, University College London and Cranfield University. Formerly: Acting and Deputy Director, British Antarctic Survey (1995-2000); General Manager, BP (1980-95).
Mr John Kemp
Senior Market Analyst, Commodities and Energy, Reuters Group plc, London (2008-). Formerly: Economist, RBS Sempra Commodities (2001-08); Economist, Oxford Analytica (1996-2001).
Mr Paul Newman 
Managing Director, ICAP Energy Ltd (1990-); Non-Executive Director, J C Rathbone Associates Ltd (2008-); Council Member, The Prince's Charities (2009-); Freeman of the City of London; Trustee Director, Epilepsy Research UK; Patron, Barts Hospital Appeal; Co-Founder (1993), ICAP Charity Day. Formerly: Non-Executive Chairman, ICAP Shipping Ltd (2007-11); School Governor, City of Westminster (2001-03); Conservative Party Candidate, UK General Election (2001). A Governor and member of the Finance and General Purposes Committee of The Ditchley Foundation.
Professor Joseph Nye 
Distinguished Service Professor, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University (2004-); Author, 'The Future of Power' (2011). Formerly: Dean, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University (1995-2004); Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs (1994-95); Chairman, National Intelligence Council (1993-94); Deputy Under Secretary of State for Security Assistance, Science and Technology. A Member of the Board of Directors, The American Ditchley Foundation.
Dr Neil Quilliam 
Senior Research Fellow, Middle East and North Africa, Chatham House (2014-). Formerly: Middle East and North Africa Energy Adviser, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (2010-14); Head of Desk/Senior Analyst, Middle East and North Africa, Control Risks, London (2005-10); Senior Programme Officer, United Nations Leadership Institute, Amman (2003-05); Development Consultant, Queen Zein Al-Sharaf Institute for Development, Amman (200203); Policy Analyst, Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research, Abu Dhabi (2002-03); Lecturer, Jordan Institute of Diplomacy, Amman (2000-02); Programme Officer, United Nations Leadership Institute, Amman (2000-02).
The Rt Hon. Sir Malcolm Rifkind KCMG QC MP 
Member of Parliament (Conservative) for Kensington (2010-); Chairman, Intelligence and Security Committee (2010-). Formerly: Member of Parliament (Conservative) for Kensington and Chelsea (2005-10); for Edinburgh Pentlands (1974-97); Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1995-97), Defence (1992-95), Transport (1990-92); Scotland (1986-90); Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (1983-86). An Honorary Governor, The Ditchley Foundation.
Mr John Virgoe 
British Diplomatic Service (2009-): Head of Policy Unit, Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Formerly: Director, South-East Asia, International Crisis Group (2007-09); Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University (2006-07); British Diplomatic Service (1991-2006).
Mr Simon Walters 
British Diplomatic Service: Policy Unit, Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Mr Paul Bledsoe 
Senior Fellow on Energy and Society, The German Marshall Fund of the United States, Washington DC; President, Bledsoe & Associates, LLC. Formerly: Senior Communications Strategist and Spokesperson, American Energy Innovation Council (2009-12); Senior Policy Advisor, staff of the Presidential National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Off-Shore Drilling (2010-11); Senior Advisor, Bipartisan Policy Center; Director of Strategy and Communications, National Commission on Energy Policy (2002-10); Director of Communications, White House Climate Change Task Force (1998-2000).
Dr Jeremy Boak 
Director, Center for Oil Shale Technology and Research, Colorado School of Mines; non-executive member of the Board, San Leon Energy, Dublin; Chair or Co-Chair, 26th-34th Oil Shale Symposia (2006-14). Formerly: Project Manager, Los Alamos National Laboratory; Project Manager, Colorado Energy Research Institute; Chief, Technical Analysis Branch, Yucca Mountain Project, US Department of Energy.
Mr Jason Bordoff 
Founding Director, Center on Global Energy Policy, and Professor of Professional Practice in International and Public Affairs, Columbia School of International and Public Affairs (2013-); Member, Council on Foreign Relations; Consultant to the National Intelligence Council; board member, Association of Marshall Scholars. Formerly: Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Energy and Climate Change, National Security Council; senior policy positions, White House's National Economic Council and Council on Environmental Quality; Policy Director, Hamilton Project, Brookings Institution; Advisor to the Deputy Secretary of the US Treasury Department.
Dr Thomas Hale 
Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford (2012-15); Editorial Board, Global Policy Journal (2013-); board member, Common Cause Exchange, London (2011-). Formerly: Special Assistant to Dean Anne-Marie Slaughter, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University (2004-07).
Ms Suzanne Johnson 
Head of Strategic Analysis, Lloyds Register Energy, London. Formerly: Enron, London and Houston; Manager of Fixed Income, Schroder Investment Management; Special Assistant to Ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick, former United States Ambassador to the United Nations.
Ms Susan LeGros 
Executive Director, Center for Sustainable Shale Development, Pittsburgh; member, American Bar Association Section on Environment, Energy and Resources; board member, Energy Cooperative of Pennsylvania and the Stroud Water Research Center. Formerly: Attorney, Stevens & Lee; Founder and Partner, LeGros Law Partners; Attorney, US Environmental Protection Agency.
Dr Michael Levi 
David M Rubenstein Senior Fellow for Energy and the Environment and Director, Program on Energy Security and Climate Change, Council on Foreign Relations, New York (2008-). Formerly: Fellow for Science and Technology, Council on Foreign Relations (2006-08); Non-Resident Science Fellow (2004-06), Science and Technology Fellow (2003-04), Brookings Institution, Washington DC; Director, Strategic Security Project, Federation of American Scientists (2001-03).
Ms Katherine Lorenz 
President, Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation (2011-); Board of Directors: Environmental Defense Fund, Institute for Philanthropy (Chair), Puente a la Salud Comunitaria, Endowment for Regional Sustainability Science, Association of Small Foundations, National Center for Family Philanthropy; member: Global Philanthropists Circle, Synergos Institute. Formerly: Deputy Director, Institute for Philanthropy; Co-Founder, Puente a la Salud Comunitaria; Council on Foundations Committee on Family Philanthropy; National Academies' Roundtable of Science and Technology for Sustainability.
Dr Meghan O'Sullivan 
Jeane Kirkpatrick Professor of the Practice of International Affairs and Director, the Geopolitics of Energy Project, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University; Adjunct Senior Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations; Foreign Affairs Columnist, Bloomberg View; member: Trilateral Commission, Aspen Strategy Group; board member, TechnoServe; trustee, German Marshall Fund. Formerly: Vice Chair, All Party Talks in Northern Ireland (2013); Chief Advisor to the Presidential Envoy to the Northern Ireland peace process; Fellow, Brookings Institution; Special Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Advisor for Iraq and Afghanistan (2004-07); Senior Director, Strategic Planning and South West Asia, US National Security Council (2004-07); Political Advisor, Coalition Provisional Authority, and Deputy Director for Governance, Baghdad (2003-04).
Professor Paul Sullivan PhD 
Adjunct Professor of Security Studies, Georgetown University (2005-); Professor of Economics, National Defense University, Washington DC (1999-); Adjunct Senior Fellow, Future Global Resource Threats, Federation of American Scientists (2012-); Columnist for 'Turkiye Gazetesi', Istanbul (2011-); Columnist for 'UB Times', Ulan Baator (2012-). Formerly: Adjunct Professor, Science, Technology and International Affairs, Georgetown University (2007-11); Vice President, Programs, United Nations Association, National Capitol Area (2010-11); Adviser to Sudan project, United States Institute of Peace (2009-10); Assistant Professor of Economics, American University in Cairo (1993-99).