Natural gas is poised to enter a golden age, but will do so only if a significant proportion of the world’s vast resources of unconventional gas can be brought to markets in a profitable manner, which in tandem addresses the legitimate public concerns about the associated environmental and social impacts. This was the premise of last year’s IEA World Energy Outlook special report “Golden Rules for a Golden Age of Gas”, which laid out for industry, government, and other stakeholders the following principles towards earning & maintaining a “social license” to produce unconventional gas: (1) Measure, disclose & engage; (2) Watch where you drill; (3) Isolate wells & prevent leaks; (4) Treat water responsibly; (5) Eliminate venting, minimise flaring & other emissions; (6) Be ready to think big; (7) Ensure a consistently high level of environmental performance.
In response to the strong support from governments (including a G8 leaders communiqué), industry, NGOs and other key stakeholders shown towards the WEO special report “Golden Rules for a Golden Age of Gas”, the IEA Governing Board decided to build upon the golden rules by establishing an IEA Unconventional Gas Forum. The objective of this forum is to enable governments around the globe to share insights, alongside input from industry and other key stakeholders, on operational best practices and regulatory action towards securing the economic, security and other benefits of increasing unconventional gas output. What was a silent revolution in North America is likely to be a longer and challenging campaign in other parts of the globe, leaving still much scope for sharing experiences and improving best practices.
See more information on the Inaugural meeting of the IEA Unconventional Gas Forum.