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A new report co-authored by Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) Professor Meghan L. O’Sullivan explores the potential for new quantities of conventional and unconventional natural gas to reach global markets in the years ahead. The report is part of an on-going two-year study on the geopolitical implications of natural gas co-directed by O’Sullivan, who heads the Belfer Center for Science and International Affair’s Geopolitics of Energy Project, and Amy Myers Jaffe, director of the Energy Forum at Rice University’s James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy.
This report titled "The Geopolitics of Natural Gas" is based on discussions at a May 2012 workshop that brought together experts on major gas producing and consuming countries, economists specializing in gas trade modeling, and industry representatives. The report explores the dynamics of the politics and economics of gas in major world regions, looking at trends and links between regions. It also reports on a scenario planning exercise at the workshop that explored the future of natural gas, looking at the time horizons to 2015, 2020, and 2030. As a result of this exercise, the participants developed four global scenarios that offer critical insights into distinctly different trajectories for the future of gas markets.
The natural gas study currently underway will assess the prospects for gas consumption and production in various countries, based on anticipated political, economic, and policy trends. Building on these case studies, different scenarios will be explored using the Rice World Gas Trade Model to assess the cumulative impact of country-specific changes on the global gas market and, more broadly, on geopolitics. The final report of the study is anticipated in early 2013.