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Europe Has Huge Shale Gas Potential, New Report

Shale-gas production in Europe could reach 35 billion cubic metres a year (cm/y) by 2020, or about 20% of EU member states’ output now, with Poland and the UK the leading producers, says a new report.

Unconventional Gas World Production & Drilling Forecast, a study by consultants Douglas Westwood, claims shale-gas output in Poland and the UK could reach 11 billion cm and 2 billion cm respectively by 2020.

Poland has been aggressively promoting domestic shale-gas drilling and last month Cuadrilla Resources claimed to have discovered 5.7 trillion cm in northern England. Prospects for developing shale-gas resources beyond North America are “looking good”, said analyst Joseph Dutton, author of the report.

Huge potential

Although North America will continue to dominate the global shale-gas sector – US production totaled 136 billion cm in 2010, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA) – there will also be “rapid development” of shale gas in Europe, Asia, Australasia and China, the report said. Growth in Asiay will “outstrip all other regions”, with production set to rise by 1,000% between now and 2020, to reach 65 billion cm/y.

“China has a very optimistic and forthright attitude to any kind of economic development and it doesn’t have the same issues from a regulatory point of view that Europe does,” Dutton said. “The potential in China is huge.” With shale-gas reserves estimated by the EIA to be 36 trillion cm. China is pushing development of the resources in a bid to avoid a 5 billion cm/y gas-supply shortfall from 2015….

The International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates global unconventional-gas reserves – including tight gas, shale gas and CBM – to be around 921 trillion cm, with 98 trillion cm in Europe alone. Global unconventional production will make up one-third of gas-supply growth, says the IEA, with shale gas and CBM from China and Australia important contributor.

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