Shale oil surge may put wind, solar investment at risk — enviros

Posted: Sunday, February 17, 2013

The global expansion of relatively inexpensive shale oil may threaten investment in renewable energy and global emissions goals and could pose other environmental risks, environmentalists warned in the wake of a report that found shale oil could make up 12 percent of oil production by 2035.

The large expansion could drive down oil prices by as much as $50 per barrel by 2035, according to a new report by consulting firm PwC

In the United States, shale oil production rose from 111,000 barrels per day in 2004 to 553,000 barrels a day in 2011.

Global gross domestic product could get a $2.7 trillion bump by 2035 with a 25 percent to 40 percent reduction in global oil prices resulting from shale oil production, the report said. U.S. GDP would rise by 4.7 percent in this scenario.

“The use of [hydraulic fracturing] is obviously controversial because of the environmental and community impact, and this would have to be carefully regulated, which may in turn have implications for the viability of extracting the resource,” said Jonathan Grant, director of sustainability and climate change at Pw

Doug Parr, chief scientist at Greenpeace U.K., said in a statement: “Digging up and burning new reserves of fossil fuels can only exacerbate the huge negative impact on the global economy of climate change” (Will Nichols, London Guardian, Feb. 14)