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Shale Gas Focus of Global New Energy Summit

April 11, 2012

The fourth annual “Global New Energy Summit” concluded earlier today at the Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs. Industry experts spoke about a wide variety of energy issues, from smart grid to nuclear technology to venture capital in the clean tech sector. The overarching topic, however, was the natural gas “shale gale” phenomenon and the extent to which it is a game-changer for electricity production and the overall U.S. economy.

Gregory Leveille, general manager of ConocoPhillips’ non-conventional resources team, stated that given the low price of natural gas resulting from the increased supply, many exploration companies are focusing on oil plays rather than natural gas. He said that 10% of the shale gas reserves are in Colorado and that the industry has created 107,000 jobs in the state. Other speakers focused on the fact that the abundant supply of natural gas should keep electricity prices competitive which will be a boon to the U.S. manufacturing sector, including plastics, steel, and chemicals. Shale gas makes up 30% of the overall supply of natural gas and will soon be at 50% of supply.

The head of the American Council On Renewable Energy (ACORE) suggested that gas prices may not stay low indefinitely given the fact that demand in Japan will increase as that country shifts its generation portfolio away from nuclear and demand from China and South Asia increases.  He also argued that there will be upward pressure on natural gas prices as that fuel is used more in the transportation sector and as stricter permitting regulations are adopted. His point was that the U.S. still needs to do more to incentivize renewable resources. Nevertheless, according to Mr. Leveille, exports of LNG from U.S. shale gas are not likely to increase dramatically as the infrastructure for that transformation is limited and the additional cost will make the product uneconomic for foreign consumers.

Both Governor Hickenlooper and U.S. Senator Michael Bennet spoke at the event, with both expressing concerns about climate change and the need to be more efficient in the use of energy. Overall, the event was a good opportunity for CREA to interact with stakeholders and make connections in preparation for our Energy Innovations Summit this fall.



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