Governance of Unconventional Gas

worldbank_ogel_bannerPhilip worked with the World Bank Institute (WBI) and with Oil, Gas and Energy Law (OGEL) to convene a Learning Symposium on the Governance of Unconventional Gas, held in Washington D.C., 2-3 June 2014


The “shale gas revolution” in the US has led to an explosion of interest around the world in shale gas and, to a lesser extent, in tight gas and coal-bed methane. Recent estimates point to the large potential for unconventional gas development in a growing list of countries, including South Africa, Botswana, Mexico, Brazil, China, Algeria and the Ukraine.  Poland and the UK have championed active exploration.

Fracking raises its own set of social and environmental risks that need to be weighed against economic opportunity. Successful industry development will require political and public support and effective management of those risks. Yet these risks are not yet well understood and have not been mapped effectively for non-OECD contexts. Good governance frameworks will be essential to ensure positive long-term outcomes. Given the different financial and operating model for unconventional gas, simply relying on existing governance structures from more traditional extractive industries is unlikely to be effective.

This learning symposium was the first to focus on these governance considerations with a view to ensuring unconventional gas is an effective contributor to sustainable growth and development in non-OECD contexts. It built upon new research, with a focus on articles from the forthcoming special issues of the Oil, Gas and Energy Law Intelligence on “The governance of unconventional gas exploitation outside the United States” of the Journal of World Energy law and Business on “Unconventional gas in East Asia”, both edited by Philip Andrews-Speed.

The learning symposium will be organized jointly by the World Bank Institute and the Oil, Gas and Energy Law Intelligence with support also from the Journal of World Energy Law and Business.


 The objectives of the workshop were:

  •  To connect diverse experts working on unconventional gas and on good governance issues across organizations.
  • To begin to build common understanding of the current status of unconventional gas development in new producer countries and governance implications. This included insights into emerging producer experiences of unconventional gas development (drawing in addition on lessons from the US experience as applicable).
  • To identify and articulate opportunities for further research, capacity building and action.
  • The group also explored options for continuing to link researchers and practitioners, including the potential for a community of practice focused on governance issues around shale gas development.


The thirty-five symposium participants came from international organisations, oil companies, professional firms, universities, think-tanks and NGOs.


The key outcomes from the Symposium together with 23 papers are available at  The remaining papers will be available later in the year at


  • OGEL Special: Governance of Unconventional Gas outside the United States of America
    by P. Andrews-Speed, Energy Studies Institute of the National University of Singapore
  • Towards a Roadmap for Governance of Unconventional Gas: A Multidimensional Challenge
    by M. Jarvis, World Bank Institute


  • Enhancing the Energy Security and Governance of Shale Gas
    by V. Vivoda, Griffith University
    B.K. Sovacool, Danish Center for Energy Technology, AU-Herning
  • The Expanding Circle of Stakeholders: Shale Gas, Information Flows, and the Social License to Operate
    by J. Liss
    T.B. Murphy, Penn State’s Marcellus Center of Outreach and Research (MCOR)
  • Research and Innovation Partnerships: Lessons and Resources for the Unconventional Gas Sector
    by L. Hardie, Centre for Social Responsibility in Mining (CSRM), Sustainable Minerals Institute, The University of
    N. Smith Devetak, Centre for Social Responsibility in Mining (CSRM), Sustainable Minerals Institute, The University of


  • EU Engagement with Shale Gas
    by T. Boersma, The Brookings Institution, Energy Security Initiative
    C. Khodabakhsh, The George Washington University, Elliott School of International Affairs
  • Shale Gas in the European Union: You, me, together? Reflections from a Subsidiarity Perspective
    by L. Reins, KU Leuven
  • Shale Gas Planning Applications, Protesters, and Governance: Lessons From the Uk
    by R. Kemp, Ray Kemp Consulting Ltd.
  • Shale: A Guide to Tailoring Legislation, SPAs, Farm-in Agreements and JOAs in Developing Basins
    by H. Douglas, Dentons UKMEA, London
  • Fracking the UK’s Shale Gas Regulatory Regime
    by Y. Abul-Failat, LXL LLP
  • Energy Security or Energy Governance? Legal and Political Aspects of Sustainable Exploration of Shale Gas in Poland.
    by J. Górski, Faculty of Law, Chinese University of Hong Kong
    S. Raszewski, Centre for International Minerals and Energy Law (CIMEL)
  • Governance of Unconventional Gas in Bulgaria: From Exploration to Bust
    by A. Goldthau, Belfer Center, Harvard Kennedy School of Government; Central European University
    M. LaBelle, Central European University, CEU Business School and Department of Environmental Sciences and Policy


    by N. Kapdi, Dentons UKMEA, Cape Town
    H. Bowdren, Dentons UKMEA, London
  • Fracking the Karoo: Mitigating environmental damage
    by D. Raviv, Go Legal
  • Exploration and Production of Unconventional Hydrocarbons in Algeria – Recent Trends
    by E. Gaillard, Shearman & Sterling LLP
    M. Lebois, Shearman & Sterling LLP


  • Regulating the Environmental Impact of Tight and Shale Gas Tight Gas Projects in Western Australia: An Assessment of the Existing Regulatory Framework
    by T. Hunter, TC Beirne School of Law – The University of Queensland
  • The Regulation of Unconventional Gas in Queensland and New South Wales – Divergent Paths, Same Destination?
    by R. Brockett, Ashurst Australia


  • Unconventional Gas Regulation in Canada
    by S.M. Popp, Dufford & Brown, P.C.
  • How Robust is the Governance System of British Columbia for Regulating the Environmental Aspects of Shale Gas Development?
    by S. Elfving, University of Surrey

Latin America

  • Mexican Hydrocarbon Governance: A Developing Story
    by C. Nolan, Fulbright & Jaworski LLP
    L.J. McMahon, Norton Rose Fulbright
  • Unconventional Gas Development: Updates from Brazil
    by K. Calleja Mercieca, Lawyer
    B. Fernandes Dias, Valente Fernandes Advogado
  • The Energy Sector and the Governance of Unconventional Fuels in Brazil
    by M. Dorraj, Texas Christian University
  • The Governance of Shale Gas in Argentina
    by D.R. Mares, University of California, San Diego


  • Mapping out China’s Shale Gas Future: Challenges Towards Development
    by K. Van Hende, School of Energy and Resources, University College London, Australia
    N. De Silva, International Energy Policy Institute, University College London, Australia
    C. Maurin, International Energy Policy Institute, University College London, Australia
    P. Xiao, Centre for China-Africa Agriculture and Forestry Research (CAFOR)
  • Shale Oil and Gas Development – A Bailout Package for Pakistan’s Energy Crisis
    by J. Israr Khan, Oil and Gas Development Company (OGDCL)
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