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The importance  of the US Energy Information Administration’s report on World Shale Gas Resources cannot be understated.  Paradigm shifting, game changing, even mind-boggling doesn’t do justice to the revelations in this report. It’s hard to know where to begin, and at 365 pages I haven’t even begun to go beneath these mind-blowing figures. But they are astounding. As I’ve said a number of times:  Shale gas doesn’t change everything,  it’s much more important than that.

But there’s one little adjective here that succinctly describes world shale gas resources: Vast. Let’s go back to  the thesaurus so we can let this soak in; the world’s energy reserves are now officially:

vast [adjective]: huge, extensive, expansive, broad, wide, sweeping, boundless, immeasurable, limitless, infinite; enormous, immense, great, massive, colossal, tremendous, mighty, prodigious, gigantic, gargantuan, mammoth, monumental; giant, towering, mountainous, titanic, Brobdingnagian; informal jumbo, mega, monster, whopping, humongous, astronomical, ginormous.

Although the shale gas resource estimates will likely change over time as additional information becomes available, t[B]he report shows that the international shale gas resource base is vast[/B]. The initial estimate of technically recoverable shale gas resources in the 32 countries examined is 5,760 trillion cubic feet, as shown in Table 1. Adding the U.S. estimate of the shale gas technically recoverable resources of 862 trillion cubic feet results in a total shale resource base estimate of 6,622 trillion cubic feet for the United States and the other 32 countries assessed. To put this shale gas resource estimate in some perspective, world proven reserves of natural gas as of January 1, 2010 are about 6,609 trillion cubic feet, and world technically recoverable gas resources are roughly 16,000 trillion cubic feet,largely excluding shale gas. Thus, adding the identified shale gas resources to other gas resources increases total world technically recoverable gas resources by over 40 percent to 22,600 trillion cubic feet.

Basically adding shale adds 40 per cent to world gas resources, not far off the US Potential Gas Committee report of 2009 figures for US shale resources. Which now seem conservative, but who is going to quibble?

Great map here before we go on to the main event;

This is the table which changes the world.  Remember these are technically recoverable.  They stem from a study of 32 countries. So they don’t include such obvious gas monsters such as Russia and Indonesia. But look who has shale. Everyone.  All of us. Energy shortage? No Thanks! Non Merci! Nein Danke!


In Europe the WOW moment has to be France. Incroyable doesn’t even start  to describe it. What would be incroyable is if France says they want to leave it in the ground.  We always knew about Poland, but check out Denmark and Ukraine. As for the UK,  let’s put that in perspective: 20 TCF sounds small compared to the the triple digit numbers here. But 20 TCF, which I can assure you is an understatement, is merely double the current UK North Seas reserves.

And surprise, surprise: China! Largest shale reserves in the world, surpassing even the US by far. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. The only way I have been wrong about shale is by underestimating it’s impact. But the Chinese figures change everything. World LNG? Toast! Which can’t help Australia too much even with 395. Which leads to the other southern hemisphere wonders, although since this site mentioned them both in Q3 2009, it’s only the massive scale of the resource that surprises, not the locations:

South Africa  485!

Argentina 774!  Repeat that.  That is not a mistake.  That is technicially recoverable.  That is astounding.

On any other day, the revelation that Algeria had 231 TCF of shale would change the entire world energy equation.  That makes Algeria as big a potential LNG exporter as Qatar for example.

But  we don’t even have Middle East figures.  Who knows how much shale could be under Saudi, Oman or Iraq.  But you know what?  Who needs to know about that anymore.

No Hot Air, 6 April 2011