Natural gas shale play development now going global
Thirty years ago oilman George Mitchell started an American energy revolution when his company took old techniques and applied them in innovative ways to shale gas fields in north Texas.
Hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling were not exactly new, but the combination unlocked tremendous reserves of natural gas in the Barnett Shale and, eventually, similar formations across the U.S. Shale names like the Marcellus, Bakken, Haynesville, Utica and Woodford are now synonymous with game-changing gas reserves.
Some so-called experts feared that we might have to import liquefied natural gas from international producers only a decade ago, but now the American supply is estimated at 100 years or more.
Europe is finally taking notice. The continent has begun exploring its own shale formations in the hopes that some measure of energy independence might be gained.
The goal is not freedom from Middle East and Latin American state-run oil entities, but rather Russian suppliers. European economic and clean-air interests might be linking up about shale even as U.S. regulators are giving the practice a harder look here.
The evidence is cropping up almost everywhere. Halliburton fractured Poland‘s first shale play well last year, while ExxonMobil is exploring concessions in Germany, joining nations such as Spain and the Netherlands in a search for vast stores of natural gas.
U.S. diplomatic channels are willing to help. The State Department formed the Global Shale Gas Initiative last year, “to help countries seeking to utilize their unconventional natural gas resources to identify and develop them safely and economically,” according to the department’s website.
The Global Shale Gas Initiative so far selected countries with some known presence of gas-bearing shale within their borders, market potential and “geopolitical synergies.” The GSGI partnerships include China, India, Jordan and Poland, where reserves are announced at approximately 1.4 trillion cubic meters.
New coal power is difficult to build on due to stringent environmental politics. Some nations, such as Germany, are either running away from or increasingly wary about nuclear power in the wake of the Japanese tsunami disaster.
Eastern European nations, with still fresh memories of Russian domination, want an option to the oil and gas giant perched near their borders. Some, like France, are opposed to hydraulic fracturing although its energy situation is more settled than other neighbors.
But many nations are willing and eager to consider unconventional drilling options, although opinion is divided on whether the European shales have sufficient permeability to recover massive oil and gas. They look across the pond and see potential oceans of energy independence where little existed before the U.S. shale plays shot up.
- Soros-Backed San Leon Says Polish Shale Gas Profits to Beat U.S. (mb50.wordpress.com)
- UK: Cuadrilla Unveils Huge Shale Gas Find (mb50.wordpress.com)
Posted on October 9, 2011, in Eagle Ford Shale, GEOPOLITICS, Middle East, Natural Gas, Poland, Shale Gas and tagged Barnett Shale, Eagle Ford Shale, energy, ExxonMobil, Global Shale Gas Initiative (GSGI), Hydraulic fracturing, Middle East, Natural Gas, Poland, Shale gas, United States. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.