Full Title: Geostrategic Implications of Unconventional Oil and Natural Gas
Author(s): Sarah O. Ladislaw and Maren Leed
Publisher(s): Center for Strategic and International Studies
Publication Date: 4/2013



U.S. oil and gas production is on the rise due to the remarkable surge in unconventional oil and gas development. The widespread realization of the economic, technological, and commercial viability of  these tremendous oil and gas resources within North America and the potential for transferring this  production success to other parts of the world with similar resources may alter the global energy  landscape in several important ways. Speculation about the full extent of the geostrategic implications of  this newly realized resource endowment runs the gamut: some analysts suggest that it will fundamentally  change the geopolitical dimensions of energy that have prevailed over the last forty years, while others  posit that the revolution will be short-lived both in terms of its production potential and resulting  geostrategic impacts. There is even less consensus about what potential changes in energy relationships  might mean more broadly for key international relationships and geopolitical dynamics.

Despite this uncertainty, more rigorous thought should be put toward examinations of possible futures and  their resulting implications. Such exercises, while admittedly speculative, will help to clarify the areas in  which policymakers should focus their attention, and in which they may be able to take actions to shape  possible outcomes more favorably or to hedge against potential vulnerabilities. CSIS is initiating such an  examination and looks forward to partnering with other interested stakeholders on what must be just one  component of a broader consideration going forward.