Last Update: July 25, 2015

Buried in the US Government Budget is a little office in the State Department whose work is to export hydraulic fracturing technology to any country that has shale deposits. U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Energy Resources (ENR) is the overall group, with two operations: the Energy Governance and Capacity Initiative (EGCI) and the Unconventional Gas Technical Engagement Program (UGTEP).

Energy Governance and Capacity Initiative: EGCI is a Department of State-led interagency effort to provide a wide range of technical and capacity-building assistance that is requested by the host governments of countries with emerging or significantly expanding oil and gas sectors. EGCI's core objective is to help these countries establish the capacity to manage their oil and gas sector resources responsibly. Although EGCI's goals are country-specific in nature, the program tries broadly to ensure sound and transparent energy sector governance for the benefit of national economic and democratic development. The EGCI program supports a broad range of U.S. foreign policy objectives and is tightly coordinated with overall U.S. energy policy dialogues. EGCI assistance will complement other reform efforts (e.g., the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative) and aims to coordinate with other donor programs to every extent possible. EGCI typically works in four areas of capacity-building:

  • technical - understanding the resource through the most appropriate technologies;
  • financial - responsibly managing revenues from the sector;
  • legal - embedding international best practices into laws and regulations;
  • environmental - protecting people and the environment from sector impacts.

Unconventional Gas Technical Engagement Program: UGTEP is a U.S. Department of State-led interagency assistance program that seeks to engage with and inform participant countries of the myriad of environmental, regulatory, legal, and commercial challenges that need to be addressed in the pursuit of responsible and environmentally sustainable unconventional gas development. Due to what has been termed the "shale gas revolution" in the United States, the Department of State has encountered tremendous interest in and demand for best practices gleaned from "lessons learned" in the U.S. experience of unconventional gas exploration and production. Given the potential negative environmental, social, and economic consequences of mismanaging unconventional gas development, the Administration has made sharing said best practices an energy policy priority. UGTEP participant countries have expressed an interest in developing their unconventional gas resources, have the known presence of natural gas-bearing shale within their borders, and have identified market potential, appropriate business climates, and geopolitical synergies. The core objective of UGTEP is to increase global energy security and meet environmental objectives through responsible and safe unconventional natural gas development.

Fiscal Year 2014 USAID Budget Request ( Download PDF.

About the Author(s)

David Herron : David Herron is a writer and software engineer focusing on the wise use of technology. He is especially interested in clean energy technologies like solar power, wind power, and electric cars. David worked for nearly 30 years in Silicon Valley on software ranging from electronic mail systems, to video streaming, to the Java programming language, and has published several books on Node.js programming and electric vehicles.
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