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), Friedrich Schulte (Head of Technologies RWE), Dr. William Blyth (Director Oxford Energy Associates) , Peter Jackson (IHS CERA), Lord Ron Oxburgh (House of Lords UK Parliament), Richard Stainsby (Chief Technologiest UK National Nuclear Laboratories), Alexander Naumov (Group Economics BP), Guy de Kort (Shell Vice President GTL), and Tatiana Mitrova (Head Oil & Gas Energy Research Institute Russian Academy of Sciences).

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 deadline passed

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

Day 1 | Wednesday 26 June | Fossil Fuels: Can we turn Unconventional into Conventional?

Day 2 | Thursday 27 June | The Future of the Electricity System

Day 3 | Friday 28 June | The Economics and Policy of Energy Systems

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
Programme 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 The Architecture and Drivers of Future Oil Supply
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 Key developments and challenges of Enhanced Oil Recovery techniques and CO2 Solutions
Prof. Mehran Sohrabi, Institute of Petroleum Engineering, Heriot-Watt University
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 Chaired By - Paul McConnell, Wood MacKenzie Consulting
Viewpoint A: "Upcoming technologies will unlock the unconventional resource base"
  • Panelist to be announced
Viewpoint B: "We can’t afford the energy, labour and capital cost to prolong the fossil fuel era"

Day Summary

17:30 – 18:00 Closing of Day 1
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 addressProgram 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 Should the UK nuclear programme be a model for the rest of Europe?
Prof. Steve Thomas, Greenwich University
11:15 – 11:40 The costs and economic viability of nuclear energy
David Shropshire, Head Planning and Economic Studies, International Atomic Energy Agency
11:40 – 12:05 Trends towards Sustainability in the nuclear fuel cycle
Dr. Ron Cameron, Head Nuclear Development Division, OECD Nuclear Energy Agency
12:05 – 12:30 Generation IV fast reactors and the re-use of long-lived nuclear waste
Dr. Richard Stainsby, Chief Technologist, UK National Nuclear Laboratories 
12:30 – 13:10 Lunch Break

The challenges of a renewables based electricity grid

13:10 – 13:30 The Renewables Policy Challenge: Scottish context
Dr. Nicola McEwen, Director of Public Policy, Academy of Government, University of Edinburgh
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 Grid balancing and development in an era of renewable energies
Andrew Hiorns, Network Strategy Manager, National Grid UK
14:20 – 14:55 Demand side electricity grid management
Alastair Martin, Founder, Flexitricity
14:55 – 15:10 Refreshment Break
15:10 – 15:35 The potential and costs of electricity storage
Friedrich Schulte, Head of Technologies, RWE AG
15:35 – 16:00 Electrochemistry and the energy storage gap
Dr. David Fermin, University of Bristol
16:00 – 16:30 Coffee & tea

Debate: Where to invest in for the electricity system of the future? A choice between Shale Gas, Nuclear, Renewables, and Coal with CCS?

16:30 – 17:30 Chair to be announcedPanelists:

Day Summary

17:30 – 18:00 Closing of Day 2
Programme Committee
18:00 – 19:30 Policy Workshop: the information, data, and policy gaps on meeting the Energy Challenges
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
Programme 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 Honorary Panel Leader - Professor Charles Hendry MP
12:45 – 13:00 Conference Summary
Final Sponsor Thanks

Energy Modelling workshop

14:00 – 14:15 Introduction
14:15 – 14:45 Selected Individual Presentation rounds
14:45 – 16:00 Discussion