The overarching aim of this project is to examine possible futures for oil and gas at a UK, European, and global level. This work is exploring five specific areas of interest.

  1. The first area involves the quantitative examination of the role that gas could play as a ‘transition fuel’ in helping to decarbonise the UK energy system.  This work is using the recently-developed UKTM-UCL energy system model to examine changes in both the production and consumption of gas in the UK under different scenarios.
  2. The second area involves the development of qualitative and quantitative scenarios for future gas markets. This work, which is being undertaken in conjunction with Professor Mike Bradshaw at the University of Warwick, will develop analysis of gas markets for four ‘case studies’ that are of current topical interest: the abundance of unconventional oil and gas resources calling into question further resource exploration and development (particularly those conventional resources found in extreme locations); the role of gas in China; the geo-political implications of geographically diversifying sources of production; and the future of LNG markets, given the ability of LNG to assist in the decarbonisation of some regions and as a mechanism by which a global gas price could form.
  3. The aim of area three is to provide additional quantitative insights on gas markets, which is the subject of a new UKERC PhD, starting in September 2015. The work will construct a geographically-detailed and economically and geologically-rich model of the gas markets.
  4. The fourth area focuses on the future for tight oil production globally. Production of tight oil has mirrored the rapid rise in shale gas production in North America and has already had huge implications for global oil markets. However, despite much interest in developing new sources of tight oil, its future outside of North America remains uncertain. Indeed past projections (from the IEA and EIA for example) have tended to underestimate significantly the rate at which tight oil production has actually grown. This activity therefore aims to add a module to the existing bottom-up economic and geological oil field production model (called BUEGO) that permits examining possible pathways for the global development of tight oil.
  5. The fifth topic aims to increase understanding of how reserves and resources of fossil fuels, materials and bioenergy can be reported consistently and what uncertainties exist in trying to do so.