With the emergence of shale oil and other non-conventional energy sources, the relevance of the Organisation for Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) has been put to question. Until recent times, OPEC had been the swing producer in the global oil market as many nations depended on oil to meet their energy needs that was evident in the 1973 energy crisis and the devastating effect on the world economy. In the aftermath of this, developed nations started a search for alternative energy sources to avoid a repeat of such an occurrence. In recent past, shale oil has emerged as a viable energy resource that contributed to the crash of oil price in 2014. Other non-conventional energy sources such as renewables have continued to garner attention and gain more grounds as concerns for environmental impact and climate change continue to grow globally. Hence, this study employs a qualitative approach using Technology, Economics, Commercial, Operational and Policies (TECOP) in analysing the potentials of unconventional oil sources such as shale oil and renewable energy sources as well as that of conventional oil. A comparative analysis is also carried out to determine if shale oil and non-conventionals are real competitors to conventional oil. This analysis is based on the context of technical, economical, commercial, operational and political considerations for these energy sources. Infrastructures for conventional oil such as recharge stations are readily available, when compared to renewables. Moreover, by-products such as asphalt, obtained from conventional crude oil are not the same for non-conventional sources. Operationally, the capacity and efficiency of conventional oil in terms of industrial usage, is more competitive than that of renewables. Politically, renewables do have an edge over conventional oil and unconventional oil such as shale oil, because globally, policies are being implemented to discourage the use of fossil fuels and encourage the use of renewables as a response to the issue of global warming. In this study, it was found that technology is the major driver and the extent to which non-conventional energy sources are used is a function of investment in research and development. Technology is the backbone of the development and sustenance of any energy source.
R. U. Onolemhemhen
University of Lagos, Akoka, Lagos, Nigeria.
Y. A. Omotosho
University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria
Professor S. O. Ishehunwa
University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria.
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