The shale energy revolution has already upset the “peak oil” forecast, which predicted that the world will soon reach the point of highest physical oil output and thereafter global production will begin an inexorable decline. Now, in the context of the worsening political situation in the Middle East and Eastern Europe, its impact is being discussed in terms of America’s ability to secure its own energy supplies and assist its allies with theirs. The near-term enthusiasm for shale energy is understandable, but what are its longer term prospects? Energy markets are notoriously difficult to predict. In the 1970s, as U.S. oil production reached a historic high point and turmoil in the Middle East produced two spikes in crude prices, there was talk of imminent scarcity. While global output stood at around 60 million barrels per day (mbd), some analysts declared that the […]