Shale Gas: Changing the Global Energy Market Essay

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It is clear today that for at least the next 20 years natural gas will be a
key energy vector in Europe. Increased consumption and reduction of
European reserves is pushing countries, governments and companies to all
find a more efficient and economically viable energy resource. Like any
major new energy source, shale gas has the ability to confer massive wealth
on some countries — and take it away from others. It has become a global
phenomenon. Extensive and successful extraction in the United States has
sparked other global regions in exploring the potential held within this
possibly new lucrative energy source. The U.S. domestic natural gas
production was previously in decline but following advances in drilling
technologies – horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing – production rates
have boomed. The trend is predicted to continue with the U.S Energy
Information Administration (“EIA”) forecasting that by 2035 over 50% of
onshore natural gas production will be accounted for by shale gas
(Continental Economics 2012)1.
The increase in shale gas production has changed the balance of
energy markets regionally and globally. It alters supply and demand levels,
impacting on surrounding energy sources. Just a decade ago in the United
States companies were arranging to invest in facilities for liquified natural
gas. This was to combat the rise in demand for natural gas and the realisation of diminishing domestic supplies. However shale gas boomed
changing investment and production rates in other energy sources and
locations, especially offshore Gulf of Mexico. ‘Gulf gas production has
dropped from 24% of U.S. gas production in 2001 to 9% today’2 and
predicted to diminish almost completely. This is a clear indicator how in this

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• Market Watch (2013, 7th August), “Shale gas revolution will create winners, losers”, http://
2013-08-07 (Accessed 2013, 14th December)
• Stevens, P. (2010, September) “The ‘Shale Gas Revolution’: Hype and Reality”, Chatham
House Report, pp. 15-16
• Telegraph (2013, 30th November), “Barclays invests in shale gas revolution”, http://
gas-revolution.html, (Accessed 2013, 15th December)
• Telegraph (2013,10th December), “New shale gas drilling areas to be revealed as
communities promised £100,000 benefits for fracking”,
promised-100000-benefits-for-fracking.html, (Accessed 2013, 13th

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