The Shale Revolution of the first decade of the twenty-first century has fundamentally remade North America energy fundamentals by increasing U.S. production of oil and gas, and enabling the U.S. to become a net energy exporter for the first time since 1970. The new dynamics of the North American petroleum industry are not without challenges. As the political economy of energy policy affecting the production, transportation, refining, and marketing of oil grows more complex and expensive, industry and government have increasingly turned to legacy infrastructure, specifically railroads, to move new supplies of oil -- from American oil shale plays as well as Canadian oil sands -- to market. While the short term investment horizons for the shale industry mean that rail transportation make sense, the 2013 rail disaster at Lac Megantic -- Canada's worst rail disaster since 1864 -- illustrates the ways in which the North American petroleum industry and the regulatory environment have changed since the energy crises of the 1970s.
Dr. Paul Chastko (Department of History, University of Calgary) specializes in the history of the North American petroleum industry, international politics, and globalization. He is the author of Developing Alberta's Oil Sands: From Karl Clark to Kyoto as well as other articles and book chapters on the North American oil industry. His next book, Globalization and the World Oil Industry is under contract with Taylor and Francis, and examines how the global oil industry reshaped itself during the decade of low oil prices in the 1990s. By focusing on the development of evolutionary changes in technology, business, and government, these public and private strategies and decisions produced a dramatic recasting of global energy consumption in the early 2000s. Dr. Chastko has been consulted by both the private sector and government agencies, and is a regular contributor to a number of media outlets on oil and gas issues.
Please join us Monday, October 17, 7:00 pm in Wolff Auditorium, Jepson Center.
For more information, contact Robert Donnelly, History Department at (509) 313-3691 or email@example.com.