Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
I disagree here! In the US, it has completely changed the game. The predicted US gas shortage failed to materialise (to my sorrow, as I had put money in US nuclear generators) and turned into a glut. The LNG import projects are being converted to export projects. Sure, shale gas will not allow an increase in consumption to fuel say, a massive increase in new gas fired power plants, and it has put a definite floor on long term gas prices which is higher than where prices used to be, but it does seem perfectly able to replace the decline in conventional gas fields. For maybe a generation. If that's not a game changer, I don't know what is.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Fri May 27th, 2011 at 03:23:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As an NG extender, to facilitate a gentle letdown of North American (and European) NG production shale gas is certainly viable. But a new lease on life it probably isn't. The high rates of drilling and price needed, the high decline rates and mostly low productivity make it volatile enough so that it can't be counted on to deliver NG as needed i.e. to completely fill the gap left by conventional gas. E.g. in the wake of the Great Recession and because of low prices the rate of drilling has dropped so sharply that production can be expected to drop again in the medium term. The law of receding horizons applies.

As to environmental impacts the most pertinent issues are water contamination and GHG emissions. The EPA is studying the groundwater issue and will present results 2012-2014. That's highly dependent on local geology. So probably no definite answers.

The other water issue is how they dispose of the drilling fluids. That's something that can be handled with proper regulations though with higher cost. "Indeed, efforts by shale gas producers to remain exempt from the Safe Drinking Water Act are surely counterproductive and counterintuitive if the production of shale gas is really as benign as the industry contends.55"

GHG emissions (over full cycle) are controversial (a study says it's actually more than coal because of escaping methane) but in my view irrelevant. Whatever is there will be produced high GHG emissions or not.

Anyway this report challenges the consensus opinion about newly abundant gas.

In Europe there is so much less shale gas available that under the best of circumstances it will only serve to cushion the decline.

Schengen is toast!

by epochepoque on Fri May 27th, 2011 at 05:00:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, the US shale "boom" happened at a time of massive fall in demand, so the impact on prices was probably more than it would have been in normal times.

Don't forget that this boom, under the most optimistic assumptions, would only be big enough to replace Canadian exports to the US, ie 15-20% of domestic consumption.

And we'll have to see if production can continue to grow with current prices...

Wind power

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun May 29th, 2011 at 12:50:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Any difference shale gas has made here will end abruptly when they finally start regulating fracking, or when the frackers start getting their butts sued off for what they're doing to aquifers, which is likely to come first.
by rifek on Sat Jun 4th, 2011 at 11:43:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]