- Shale gas
refers to natural gas that is trapped within shale formations.
- Shales are
fine-grained sedimentary rocks that can be rich sources of petroleum
and natural gas.
- Over the
past decade, the combination of horizontal drilling and hydraulic
fracturing has allowed access to large volumes of shale gas that
were previously uneconomical to produce.
production of natural gas from shale formations has rejuvenated the
natural gas industry in the United States.
- The shale
acts as both the source and the reservoir for the natural gas.
shale gas wells were vertical while more recent wells are primarily
horizontal and need artificial stimulation, like hydraulic
fracturing, to produce.
- Only shale
formations with certain characteristics will produce gas.
- The most
significant trend in US natural gas production is the rapid rise in
production from shale formations.
- In large
measure this is attributable to significant advances in the use of
horizontal drilling and well stimulation technologies and refinement
in the cost-effectiveness of these technologies.
fracturing is the most significant of these.
of shale gas is expected to increase from a 2007 US total of 1.4 Tcf
to 4.8 Tcf in 2020. The DOE report states that shale gas production
potential of 3 to 4 Tcf per year may be sustainable for decades.
November 2008, the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America (INGAA)
published a report, "Availability, Economics and Production
Potential of North American Unconventional Natural Gas Supplies,"
that included an updated resource base for natural gas in the United
States and Canada.
- The INGAA
study states that the assessment of shale gas potential in the
United States and Canada is a work in progress and there is a long
way to go to understand remaining potential and implications for
future natural gas production.
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