Shale Gas Production - The Answer to Globally Increasing Energy Demand?
The total global shale gas resource base is enormous. Estimated to exceed 18,775 trillion cubic feet (Tcf), the resource potential of gas from shale's exceeds that of global conventional resources.
To further lend perspective to the magnitude of estimated global shale gas resources, current global natural gas consumption is estimated at about 110 Tcf annually. Even if only 25% of the total shale resource base becomes technically recoverable, shale gas alone can meet global natural gas demand for over 40 years at current consumption levels.
Declining production from depleting conventional gas resources combined with rising demand for energy and natural gas has caused dramatic increases in the price of crude oil and natural gas over the past decade. This has driven demand for shale gas and improved the economic viability of shale gas developments.
In response, United States-led global production of shale gas recorded an astounding 12-fold increase from 2000 to 2010. Global shale gas production grew at a compound annual average rate of nearly 50% per year from 1,002 billion cubic feet in 2006 to an estimated 5,042 billion cubic feet in 2010.
The success of shale gas production in the U.S. triggered the exploration of shale gas resources around the world. Shale gas production is already underway in Canada and gas exploration is occurring in China, India, Poland, Germany, Spain, France, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Australia, Austria, Sweden, Switzerland, Italy, Hungary, Romania, Ukraine, and Argentina, among others. An earlier start and aggressive action to date indicate China, Poland, and India will likely emerge as the first producers of shale gas outside of North America.
Based on a global analysis conducted by SBI Energy world-wide shale gas production will exceed 11 trillion cubic feet in 2020. The global value of shale gas production is concurrently expected to grow to over $56 billion in 2020. Shale gas has the potential to dramatically impact global energy markets, as nations around the world continue to seek lower-carbon fuels while ensuring energy security and economic development.