I attended the World Shale Oil and Gas Summit in Houston last week, and it was a pleasant affair. Things I learned:
– As everyone knows, the gas industry is booming because of accessibility to shale rock resources. So now that technical hurdles are down, the next big hurdle is human: the social license to operate. Thanks to social media and “documentaries” like Gasland, much of the public doesn’t realize the shale industry has progressed since its mistakes made in circa 2008 (side note – though the shale industry undoubtedly made mistakes, tracing gas in drinking water in Pennsylvania is very hard to do, and nobody – environmental groups or university research centers – claims they’ve proven where that gas came from). So oil and gas folks, open thy mouths and talk to the public. Communication is key, and the public appreciates transparency. This report from Resources for the Future includes some research on public perception of shale fracking in Pennsylvania and Texas: http://www.rff.org/RFF/Documents/RFF-Rpt-ManagingRisksofShaleGas-KeyFindings.pdf (I interviewed these folks a couple months back for a story on water contamination from fracking)
– The next hot spot for gas development and liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports? It’s in Africa… not Mozambique… think north Africa… Apparently Tunisia is the country to check out right now. This was reportedly talked about during an early morning session at the conference journalists were not allowed into, but the kindly people I sat with during lunch shared with me (people I sat with during the course of three lunches: representatives from the South Africa gov’t, a guy from a Saudi Arabia petchem company, people from China Nat’l Petroleum Corp., URC people, another reporter). As people say, the political and regulatory clime in Tunisia is ideal for shale development. Not sure if this is hype or substance… maybe will dig into with a story.
– World shale conference has good food, or maybe it’s just me as the fellow conference goers did not appear as enthused as I was about the fancy snacks and white-cloth lunches. Is this on par for Houston and/or conferences with an international audience? In DC energy conferences, we usually have, in order of amazingness: you’re on your own, sandwiches, buffet-style, and the rare white-cloth, sit down lunch. In this conference, we had white cloth lunches every day! I was impressed, that and the awesome snacks they had.
Oh yes, pictures: