In September, I had the pleasure one week of meeting several Iranians at an international oil conference and two weeks later enjoying a Shale Gas Barbecue in Wyoming County Pennsylvania. Who can think shale gas bad if it can have such a positive effect on everything from pulled pork to international gas prices? Perhaps next year we can have one big event, halal options available of course. Why can’t we all just get along? In Pennsylvania, and even more so in Texas, a moderate liberal like me can get along just fine if we talk about geology and gas and stay away from mentioning Obama or guns. Similarly, the differences I have with Iranians are legion, although I’m struck how the essential civility, courteousness and business like behaviour now extends to Iran.
I get around a lot, if not as much as I’d like given various (temporary) health issues this year, but one place I’d love to hobble over to is next weeks Gas Exporting Countries Forum in Teheran. The changes happening at the GECF this year are nothing short of amazing. How else but to use such an overused adjective? Breathtaking and stupefying aren’t sufficient. It helps to look back at the GECF of only a a handful of years ago. Natural gas has reached, in large, but not the the only, part, due to the abundance of US shales, a true inflection point and the evolution of GECF thinking has aligned with today’s reality. This willingness to cast off outdated concepts, is ironically enough, still lacking among many who I otherwise consider as my people on the left of UK politics. The quietly emerging change brewing there is for another time. Back to 2010, when the head of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum was Russia’s Leonid Bokhanovsky: