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Energy

Belgium's energy challenges

In 2007, the European Union (EU) released a comprehensive report on the challenges in Belgium’s energy landscape. In the report, the EU urges Belgium to provide “an energy basket that simultaneously guarantees a firm security of supply, at an acceptable cost, in an environmentally friendly way.” As AmCham Belgium examines the country’s current energy market, we find that, unfortunately, there is still much work to be done in all three areas. Continue reading...

Energy costs

The cost of energy frequently makes the international headlines, as we continue to witness increased volatility in pricing as well as a steady increase in overall costs. That energy is becoming more expensive is not surprising; the rise in worldwide demand in combination with limited supply has logically had an upward effect on prices. There are also several other factors at play which have made the energy landscape gradually more complex, notably the growing emphasis on renewable resources. However, Belgium’s fragmented regional policies and infamous tax regime have pushed the country into an even more uncompetitive position. Continue reading...

Energy security

According to ExxonMobil’s 2013 Outlook for Energy, global energy demand will grow 35% as the world’s population expands from about 7 billion people to nearly 9 billion by 2040. With this growth comes a greater demand for energy resources to generate electricity, which means nations have to implement long-term energy policies in order to ensure the security of supply. Energy security is a political calculus, which must also factor in the environmental and economic dimensions. Continue reading...

Shale gas

Shale gas has revolutionized the American energy market. In 2006, North Dakota’s Bakken region produced 6,000 barrels of oil per day. Thanks to technological advancements in horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, the Bakken region was producing 600,000 barrels of oil a day by 2012 – a 100-fold increase. As a result, the price of gas has plummeted and America’s industry has found a second wind. As an added bonus, while still a fossil fuel, natural gas is the least carbon-intensive of the major energy sources, emitting 60% less CO2 than coal. By investing in so-called unconventional gases, the US has achieved a real coup, reducing its carbon footprint and increasing competitiveness all at once. So why hasn’t the ‘old continent’ ventured into shale gas, both as a way to secure the energy supply and to protect industrial competitiveness? Continue reading...