A few years ago, America released stunningly high projections for shale gas reserves. Recently, China came out with even more stunningly high projections, and other countries have done the same.
For reference, 1,000 TcF of gas is equivalent to 166 billion barrels of oil, or all the oil in Canada. Note also that countries like Russia and Iran haven’t even tried to estimate their own vast reserves.
You don’t need to go to a conference any more to know that the world has massively abundant supplies of economical natural gas to power an energy-hungry world for a long, long time, centuries in fact. This fortuitous realisation is emerging at a time when three major energy systems – oil, coal and nuclear power – are antagonizing one or more societal comfort zones relating to energy security, environmental sustainability, personal safety or affordability.
And yet the projections require a leap of faith, like in China where “technically recoverable” is 1400% higher than “proven.” What this means is that shale gas might not really take off until other energy sources become prohibitively expensive.
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