Registration open: Global Energy Systems - June 26-28 2013

Our energy system is evolving due to depletion of cheap fossil fuels and the need for carbon emission constraints. Government and business are under pressure to tackle the energy challenges of rising energy costs, energy security, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. We witness rapid changes across countries as this evolution takes place, steered both by markets (investment decisions) and government (policy decisions).

It is essential for energy professionals to stay well informed with the latest insights in this evolving world. For this reason, Euan Mearns of The Oil Drum, myself and several others, are organizing the first three-day Global Energy Systems conference, which will take place in Edinburgh, United Kingdom from June 26 - 28 2013. The conference is meant to deliver key updates on the most pressing energy issues and challenges facing our energy system, as well as providing a forum for exchange of substantially different viewpoints. It is supported by several universities and research institutes including University of Aberdeen, University of Edinburgh, Oxford Research Group, Chatham House and others.

The scope is deliberately very broad, covering most primary energy sources, so that a global view of the current energy system can be presented. Session topics include “the limits to easily accessible fossil fuels”, “frontier fossil fuel technologies and basins”, “the viability of nuclear power”, “the costs and benefits of fossil versus renewable electricity”, and “the economics and policy of energy systems”. A few of our confirmed speakers include Michael Kumhof (IMF), Sir David King (former Head Smith School Oxford University), Arthur Berman (The Oil Drum), Dr. William Blyth (Director Oxford Energy Associates) , Peter Jackson (IHS CERA), Lord Ron Oxburgh (House of Lords UK Parliament), Dr. Alexander Naumov (Group Economics BP), and Guy de Kort (Shell Vice President GTL).

Read below the fold for an overview of the conference programme and confirmed speakers to date.

General information

1st Global Energy Systems Conference

Our Dynamic Earth, Edinburgh, United Kingdom

Wednesday June 26 to Friday June 28, 2013

Registration open - early bird rates available until April 1st

General interest, media and sponsorship enquiries
The conference is organized on a non-profit basis by a group of energy professionals concerned about the challenges that we face. Any expressions of interest, suggestions for content and analysis, and contributions of sponsorship, are most welcome. Your content, media, and sponsorship related communication can be directed to: alexr at

Conference Programme updated on 23 February 2012

Day 1 – Fossil Fuels: Can we turn Unconventional into Conventional?

Conference Opening
08:00 – 09:00 Registration | Coffee & tea
09:00 – 09:40 Welcome and Sponsor address Program Committee and Sponsors
09:40 – 10:25 Keynote Address on the Global Energy Challenges Lord Ron Oxburgh, House of Lords UK Parliament
10:25 – 10:50 Coffee & tea


The Limits to Easily Accessible Fossil Fuels
10:50 – 11:15 Fossil Fuel Production forecasts: analysis of resource and reserve assumptions and model mechanics Joint Paper convened by Dr. Roger Bentley
11:15 – 11:40 Perspectives on China's Coal Industry and Future Kevin Jianjun Tu, Senior Associate Carnegie 
11:40 – 12:05 World Oil Upstream Development Outlook, Production, Technology, and Cost. Dr. Peter Jackson, Head of Research IHS CERA
12:05 – 12:30 Russia's Natural Gas Production & Export Policy Dr. Tatiana Mitrova, Head Oil & Gas, Energy Research Institute Russian Academy of Sciences
12:30 – 13:30 Lunch Break


Frontier Fossil Fuel Technologies and Basins
13:30 – 13:55 The future of US shale/tight oil Dr. Kenneth Chew
13:55 – 14:20 Oil and gas recovery from continuous (unconventional) resources: Technology innovation options for improving the economic baseline Dr. Ruud Weijermars, Director TU/Delft Unconventional Gas Research Initiative
14:20 – 14:55 Enhanced Oil Recovery - The 300 billion barrel question
14:55 – 15:10 Refreshment Break
15:10 – 15:35 The current status of Underground Coal Gasification as a Commercial Technology Dr. Peter Dryburgh, Wardell Armstrong
15:35 – 16:00 Gas to Liquids - an opportunity to convert natural gas for use in the transport sector Guy de Kort, Shell Vice President GTL
16:00 – 16:30 Coffee & tea
Debate: Energy Scarcity, Threat or Fiction?
16:30 – 17:30 Viewpoint A: "Upcoming technologies will unlock the unconventional resource base"
Dr. Thomas Ahlbrandt, Vice-President of Exploration at Falcon Oil & Gas
Dr. Roberto F. Aguilera, Research Fellow Curtin University, Australia.
Viewpoint B: "We can’t afford the energy, labour and capital cost to prolong the fossil fuel era"
Dr. Michael Kumhof, Deputy division chief, Modeling Unit International Monetary Fund (IMF)
Arthur Berman, Labyrinth Consulting Services


Day Summary
17:30 – 18:00 Closing Program Committee
18:00 – 21:00 Drinks & Networking Event Separate tickets available

Day 2 – The Future of the Electricity System

Conference Opening
08:00 – 09:00 Registration | Coffee & tea
09:00 – 09:40 Welcome and Sponsor address Program Committee and Sponsors
09:40 – 10:25 Keynote Address Dr. Jeremy Leggett, non-Executive chairman Solarcentury, Chairman Solaraid
10:25 – 10:50 Coffee & tea


The viability of Nuclear Power
10:50 – 11:15 Nuclear after Fukushima, the Global Nuclear Outlook Dr. Ian Emsley, World Nuclear Association
11:15 – 11:40 The uranium fuel market, prospects and constraints
11:40 – 12:05 Title to be announced Prof. Steve Thomas, Greenwich University
12:05 – 12:30 Generation IV fast reactors and the re-use of long-lived nuclear waste. Dr. Richard Stainsby, AMEC
12:30 – 13:30 Lunch Break


The challenges of a renewable based electricity grid
13:30 – 13:55 The Benefits and Costs of Renewable Energy deployment Dr. Ulrike Lehr, Institute of Economic Structures Research GWS
13:55 – 14:20 Electricity demand side grid management.  
14:20 – 14:55 The full costs of electricity and storage
14:55 – 15:10 Refreshment Break
15:10 – 15:35 Title to be announced  Dr. David Fermin, University of Bristol
15:35 – 16:00 Innovative electricity storage technologies on the horizon
16:00 – 16:30 Coffee & tea
16:30 – 17:30 Debate: Where to invest in for the electricity system of the future? A choice between Shale Gas, Nuclear, Renewables, and Coal with CCS?
Viewpoint A: “We need all sources, the renewable economy is not viable in the short to mid term.”
Viewpoint B: "Renewables yield abundant potential for re-industrialization into a green economy"
Dr. Jerome Guillet, Managing Director Green Giraffe Energy Bankers
Prof. Stuart Haszeldine, University of Edinburgh
More Speakers to be announced



Day Summary
17:30 – 18:00 Closing of Day 2 Program Committee
18:00 – 19:30 Policy Workshop: the information, data, and policy gaps on meeting the Energy Challenges towards the Future Electricity System Breakout group of speakers plus invited delegates

Day 3 – The Economics & Policy of Energy Systems

Conference Opening
08:30 – 09:00 Coffee & tea
09:00 – 09:15 Welcome and Sponsor address Program Committee and Sponsors
09:15 – 10:00 Keynote Address Professor Sir David King, Former Director Smith School Oxford University


Understanding Energy Supply, Demand, Price, and the role of policies
10:00 – 10:25 The energy outlook to 2030: Global Trends in energy-economic relations Dr. Alexander Naumov, Group Economics, BP plc 
10:25 – 10:50 The influence of price risks on policy design and investment Dr. William Blyth, Director Oxford Energy Associates
10:50 – 11:15 Coffee & tea
11:15 – 11:40 The capital cost requirements of energy transitions Dr. Michael Dale, Stanford University
11:40 – 12:00 The demand side: energy intensity of the economy Dr. Sgouris Sgouridis, Masdar Institute
Panel Discussion on Key Knowledge, Data & Policy Gaps in the Energy sphere
12:00 - 12:45 Professor Michael Jefferson, University of Buckingham
Professor Zoe Shipton, University of Strathclyde
More panelists to be announced
12:45 – 13:00 Conference Summary, Final Sponsor Thanks


Energy Modelling workshop
13:00 – 14:00 Lunch with Introduction
14:00 – 14:30 Selected Individual Presentation rounds
14:30 – 16:00 Discussion
Speakers to be announced

Click here to download the Conference Programme Brochure
Dynamic Earth, Edinburgh, 26th-28th June - Register Here!

Just want to offer a different perspective on “cheap oil”. There have been periods when oil prices, adjusted for inflation, have been lower AND HIGHER than they are today. Annual inflation adjusted oil prices reached an all-time low in 1998…lower than the price in 1946. And then just ten years later oil prices spiked to near all-time highs. Near but not the highest: the highest annual inflation adjusted price of oil in the last 60 years happed over 30 years ago in 1980….$104.49/bbl.

If one accepts inflation adjusted prices

“cheap oil” didn’t happen many decades ago but just 15 years ago. And staggering high oil prices just didn’t hit us for the first time but also took its toll over 30 years ago. In the opinion of many those high 1980 prices led to a global recession that led to lower prices seen in the late 80’s. There are similar views regarding the effect of the recent rise prices on the various economies around the globe. Except, of course, we haven't seen the demand destruction induced lower least not yet.

The important take-away IMHO: there is a cyclic nature to the price of oil. Not olden days of cheap oil vs. modern day high prices. Will such cyclicity carry on in the future? Pull up a chair and watch with the rest of the world. As they say about stock prices: past performance doesn’t guarantee future performance. With respect to "evolving" one has to wonder if such evolutionary pressure today will be as relatively ineffective in changing our energy consumption attitudes compared to how we "evolved" as a result of the oil price peak 30 years ago. All the technology and new geologic play developments won't change human nature IMHO. In fact, it may just reinforce beliefs about maintaining BAU.

i think there are 2 issues here: the price of oil strictly speaking and associated economic growth.
also when was the us population "only" 200 million? not so long ago.
so the "cyclic nature to the price of oil" doesn't make much sense i think.

Perhaps related to oily involvement of The Railroad Commission of Texas.

"When Oklahoma oil fields were glutting the market at 15 cents a barrel, Murray placed 3,106 producing wells under martial law from August 1931 to April 1933. Kansas, New Mexico, and Texas also agreed to control their oil production and under the leadership of Governor E. W. Marland, the Interstate Oil Compact was created in 1936 to conserve petroleum and stabilize prices."
The East Texas Oil Field was a bigger glut

see also.

Indeed Robert. OPEC should have contracted the TRRC to run their cartel. We could have showed them dang Arabs how to do it right. LOL

I periodically like to remind folks about the TRRC allowable law. A law still on the books and enforced every month that determines how much oil we produce for the next 30 days. For about 40 years the allowable has been set at 100% of production capability. But every month, to this day, the TRRC decides what that rate is for the next 30 days. They can vote to cut production to 50% anytime they decide.

And there goes the myth about the Texans running a ruthlessly efficient government that gets rid of programs that are not still needed.

Annual inflation adjusted oil prices reached an all-time low in 1998

It still cracks me up that is just when GM's EV-1 was hitting the market. They could not possibly have hit market at a worse time. I like the movie "Who killed the Electric Car" and it raises some good points. But it doesn't honestly hit the reasons why EVs failed at that time . . . it was low gas prices and battery technology that was not ready.

Thanks Rembrandt.
As possible, I encourage having the sessions webcast, or at least have the slides and if possible the presentation videos posted.

Jeffrey Brown showed that the oil export index peaked in 2004 with a 14% decline by 2011. See Fig. 15
The IPCC's CIMP5 model predictions are systematically too hot compared with subsequent global temperature reality (by about 2X?). See Spinning the climate model - observation comparison

Consequently I would encourage an emphasis on liquid fuels as the very immediate much greater impact on civilization.

My basic premise is that the net oil importing OECD countries are maintaining something resembling “Business As Usual” only because of huge and almost totally overlooked rates of depletion in post-2005 Global and Available Cumulative Net Exports of oil.

An example of production versus depletion: In this case, the combined normalized production (1992 rate = 100%) by the Six Country Case History* versus remaining post-1992 CNE (Cumulative Net Exports) by year (by definition, remaining post-1992 CNE, at the end of 1992 = 100%):

1992 to 1998 Rates of Change:

Production: +3.1%/year
Net Exports: +5.6%/year
Post-1992 CNE: -11.9%/year

*Indonesia, UK, Egypt, Vietnam, Argentina, Vietnam