Student or Alumni Profile

Ideas @Davos: Global Energy Expert Amy Myers Jaffe Addresses World Economic Forum Leaders
How Unconventional Oil and Gas Are Changing the World’s Energy Map

Amy Myers Jaffe, executive director for energy and sustainability at UC Davis, recently led a discussion at a special World Economic Forum–hosted energy industry dinner attended by oil ministers and national oil company CEOs from European, Latin American, African and Russian firms, as well as U.S. and Canadian senior executives.

The event took place during the World Economic Forum’s 2013 annual meeting, which focused on “Resilient Dynamism,” held January 23–27 in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland. The World Economic Forum is an independent international organization committed to improving the state of the world by engaging business, political, academic and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas.

Jaffe opened with a talk on “Unconventional Oil and Gas—Changing the World’s Energy Map.” She was followed by Steve Bolze, president and chief executive officer for power and water at General Electric Co., and Dmitry Konov, chief executive officer of Sibur, the Russian petrochemical giant, who also made presentations. Discussion focused on how unconventional oil and gas production in North America is changing the dynamics of energy markets, with ramifications felt around the world.

The energy leaders discussed the possible scale of shale oil and gas in North America and its impact on long-term pricing, investment and foreign policy. Companies explored whether the shale play will force a re-evaluation of frontier projects such as those in the ultra-deep waters or in the Arctic, with Europe and Russia facing particularly complex sets of challenges from shifts in the U.S. energy future.

Jaffe gave insight into how the shale boom in the U.S. might influence foreign and economic policy over time, strengthening America’s freedom of movement on the international stage on issues such as democracy promotion and human rights. However, she also noted that U.S. global economic and military obligations are based on long-term economic and strategic considerations and are unlikely to change dramatically even if the U.S. is able to end its imports of foreign oil.

The Economist Digital Debate: Fracking

Jaffe is engaged in The Economist’s Digital Debate this week vs. Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club. The topic: Do the benefits derived from shale gas outweigh the drawbacks of fracking? Visit and join The Economist Digital Debate on fracking.