Shale Gas/Oil Here to Stay
Get used to it. Shale natural gas and shale oil are going to be around globally for a very, very long time.
As partial proof, today the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) offers up an outrageously titled report called, “Technically Recoverable Shale Oil and Shale Gas Resources: An Assessment of 137 Shale Formations in 41 Countries Outside the United States“.
Those fun-loving, care-free EIA party-goers sure can liven up a report title, can’t they?
In 2012, shale provided 29 percent of total U.S. crude oil production and 40 percent of total U.S. natural gas production. In the USA, the shale train has already left the station.
Shale is not a great Satan to be stopped at any cost, as envisioned by some, but the wave of an environmentally friendlier and economical energy future. It will tide over human endeavor until renewable, green energy finally matures enough to be practical.
United States Leadership
Instead of stonewalling Keystone XL, to really curb global greenhouse gas emissions and grow our own economy, the United States should leverage its shale technical knowledge and know how to develop clean shale natural gas resources world-wide.
The U.S. government needs to stop fighting the shale natural gas revolution and embrace it. It has already reduced U.S. CO2 emissions and it can do so for the rest of the world, too.
China has almost double the natural gas resources as the United States.
Partnering with China alone will reduce world-wide CO2 emissions in the near term far more than trillions of dollars in government-funded green energy initiatives over the long term. Replacing dirty coal plants with natural gas in China will do the same there as it has already done in the USA.
Developing China’s massive shale deposits should have been a top agenda item at last week’s Sino-U.S. summit instead of HFCs. It wasn’t.
Russia may have the most shale natural gas resources of all. The U.S. should partner with them, too, to reduce global energy dependence on an increasingly unstable Middle East.
Global Shale Abundance
Today’s EIA report is an update of one published in 2011. Rapid discoveries have drastically changed our understanding of this massive new-wave energy source.
On a global scale, shale constitutes 10% of total oil resources and 32% of total clean natural gas. In the U.S. shale makes up about 1/4th the total of both oil and natural gas.
This bonanza couldn’t come at a better time. According to the EIA, renewables won’t be able to supply more than 15% of total energy needs until some time after 2040. All renewables combined will remain a fraction of newly discovered shale deposits for decades to come.
There are a lot more known shale energy resources than previously thought. More will be discovered. In the near term, shale will have a dramatic impact on energy abundance, price and greenhouse gas emissions.
Energy will be more abundant, cost less and by replacing coal and other dirtier energy resources with abundant natural gas the United Nation’s dream to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions can be realized.
The existence of shale resources does not necessarily mean all of them are recoverable. The EIA provides no estimates on practical recoverability.
But it is likely that much of it can be recovered and that is good news for mankind and for the overall global environment.