Shale gas and 'tight oil' to boost developing economies

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A new report claims that developments in “unconventional” oil and gas exploration will ultimately have a big impact on countries currently trying to play ‘catch-up’ with existing industrial giants.

Research firm IHS has published Energy and the New Global Industrial Landscape: A Tectonic Shift, a report designed to coincide with the annual World Economic Forum, which takes place in Davos, Switzerland, this week.

The report looks at the impact of unconventional energy – namely shale gas and ‘tight oil’ – on world energy markets, the automotive and chemical industries and on the US, where shale gas in particular is improving manufacturing competitiveness.

But it is among the developing countries that unconventional energy will eventually make its mark, said IHS chief economist Nariman Behravesh.

“Initially, this has been – and will continue to be – a big boost for North America,” he said, pointing to IHS estimates which argued that growth in this area had led to the creation of 1.7 million jobs and generated $62bn (£39.1bn) for the US government.

“However, other regions and countries with large shale gas and tight oil deposits can, with time, also participate in this energy revolution and industrial renaissance.”

Behravesh said manufacturing investment was being drawn to the US, which had seen a drop in energy prices, “posing a risk for Europe and Asia”.

Meanwhile “major opportunities” in unconventional energy were being identified around the world, said IHS vice chairman Daniel Yergin, although he added that it would take several years before what he called “significant amounts” of shale gas and ‘tight oil’ began to appear in other regions.

(See Hamish Champ's blog.)