SIEW 2014: 5Qs with Lord Ronald Oxburgh, Former Chairman of Shell; Member, House of Lords Select Committee on Science and Technology

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About Lord Ronald Oxburgh

Lord Ronald Oxburgh is currently Chairman of the Carbon Capture and Storage Association and serves in an advisory role to Deutsche Bank and McKinsey on energy and environmental matters. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society and the Royal Academy of Engineering. He retired as Chairman of Shell in 2005. He is a former President of the Geological Society and has also served as Head of the Cambridge Department of Earth Sciences, President of Queens’ College, Chief Scientific Adviser in the Ministry of Defence, and Rector of Imperial College. He entered the House of Lords in 1999 and has chaired the Science and Technology Select Committee. 

  1. Shale gas and tight oil are making major impact on the global energy landscape, especially in North America.  What do you see are the next energy sources which could also create major shifts in our energy world?Shale gas and tight oil have certainly altered the energy landscape in North America, but the full effects have not yet been seen. Because gas exports from the US are constrained by the shortage of liquefaction terminals and political antipathy, there is a gas glut. Domestic gas prices are unsustainably low and there has been little effect on the international market. As soon as exporting facilities are built domestic prices will rise perhaps from $3 to $7 and there should be downward pressure on LNG prices for SE Asia.The main advance that could affect global energy markets would be cost-effective energy storage technology. In many parts of the world there are abundant sources of renewable energy but they are mostly intermittent and are often not available when needed. An intermittent source supported by a good storage system would be equivalent to a conventional power station and could meet demand as required.

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