February 07, 2011 11:28 ET

Natural Gas Will Account for 24% of Global Energy by 2020

ROCKVILLE, MD--(Marketwire - February 7, 2011) - has announced the addition of SBI's new report "Global Shale Gas Technologies and Markets" to their collection of Alternative Sources market reports. For more information, visit

Shale gas has the potential to dramatically impact global energy markets. It is assuming an increasingly significant role in global natural gas markets as nations around the world continue to seek lower-carbon fuels while ensuring energy security and economic development. Demand for natural gas is expected to continue to increase and will account for nearly 24% of global energy supplies by 2020. While demand for gas is increasing, supplies from conventional sources are depleting. This dynamic is driving the gas industry to unconventional sources, notably shale.

The confluence of growing demand and breakthrough technological advancements has made investments in shale plays attractive in recent years. Advancements in directional drilling and hydraulic fracturing technologies have enabled the achievement of high rates of gas production from deep, low permeability gas shale formations. These breakthroughs have facilitated access to some of the largest undeveloped gas resources in the world.

These technologies have been widely adopted in North America, resulting in dramatic increases in the production of shale gas. North American gas shales already produce over 9 billion cubic feet per day and are projected to continue to grow rapidly. Shale gas as a percentage of total North American gas production has increased from virtually nothing in 2000 to 13% in 2009; enabling the United States to eclipse Russia as the world's leading producer of natural gas.

The success of shale gas production in North America, and particularly in the US, has accelerated the exploration of shale gas resources in other regions of the world. In 2009, the International Energy Agency estimated that global recoverable resources of shale gas exceed 6,350 trillion cubic feet (Tcf). In Europe, significant gas shale resources have been identified in Poland, Sweden, and Austria. A number of gas shale basins have also been identified in Australia, China, India, and Southern African nations.

Several factors point to dramatic growth and great expectations for the market for shale gas. However, the exploration and extraction of shale gas resources remains a relatively new and developing field. Certain challenges remain to be overcome and debate continues on the estimates of the scale of recoverable resources, the economics of shale gas production, and the environmental impact of shale gas extraction processes.

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