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Christophe McGlade

Research Subject

Thesis title: Effects of uncertainties in the availability of oil and gas on the future global energy system

Primary supervisor: Professor Paul Ekins
Secondary supervisor: Professor Bob Lowe
Sponsor: UK Energy Research Centre

The primary focus of Christophe's research is the examination of the key uncertainties that exist in the outlook for oil and gas. The work involves quantitatively characterising the aspects that have most influence upon these outlooks. These include the total resource availability, the investment in and cost of resource extraction, the role of technological progress both on cost reduction and resource appreciation, global demand for oil and gas, and the impacts of geopolitical mandates or events. The timing and extent of the crossover between conventional and unconventional resources as well substitutes are also investigated.

Working closely with the UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC) Energy Systems team, these effects and uncertainties are incorporated into the energy system model TIAM-UCL allowing analysis of their impacts upon the global energy system.

The research will be used to enhance understanding of the role that hydrocarbons could have, and the consequences of their use, in both a carbon constrained and a 'business as usual' future. In addition, scenarios that are to be examined with TIAM-UCL include the Green Paradox, the implications of a single new resource type having much higher availability and lower cost than expected, and the effects of significant geopolitical events.


Prior to joining UCL, Christophe gained a BA and MSci from Queens' College at the University of Cambridge in Theoretical and Experimental Physics. His master's dissertation consisted of an experimental project developing and examining the characteristics of state-of-the-art 'environmentally-friendly' explosives. After graduating he joined the multi-disciplinary construction consultancy Capita Symonds working as a Forensic Researcher. In this role he provided advice and assistance to construction experts while performing in depth evidential research.

Publications and other work

McGlade, C. (2010): Uncertainties in estimating remaining recoverable resources of conventional oil (PDF, 3MB) 29th USAEE/IAEE North American Conference, Calgary, 14-16 October 2010 (awarded a Student Paper Award)

McGlade, C. (2011): Uncertainties in the long term availability of crude oil (PDF, 3MB) 34th IAEE International Conference, Stockholm, 19 – 23 June 2011