The Role of Unconventional Oil and Gas: A New Paradigm for Energy
April 17, 2012
For the last 40 years, U.S. energy policy has been predicated on the dual notions of growing demand and resource scarcity, especially in relation to oil and natural gas—which are responsible for roughly two-thirds of U.S. energy consumption. As a consequence, we have looked to imports to balance our supply-demand needs, and in the process, have experienced periods of significant price volatility. In March 2012, President Obama reiterated his pledge for attaining a secure energy future. He promised nothing less than the transformation of our current fossil fuel–based energy system to one that is cleaner, more secure, and sustainable.
Most analyst agree that for a variety of reasons (growing global demand, concentration of resources, limited access and governance challenges, infrastructure needs, balance of payments outflows, changing geopolitical alliances, and security considerations) the current energy system is simply unsustainable. A transformation is already underway. But make no mistake, it will take decades to complete.