The unconventional gas market, which includes shale gas, tight gas, and Coal Bed Methane (CBM) are spread across all regions of the globe, with production levels reaching an estimated 10,522.46bcf in 2011 (BP, 2012). In 2011, unconventional gas accounted for approximately 8.33% of total global gas production.
Unconventional natural gas resources are generally found in less permeable rock formations, where resource accumulations maybe distributed over a much larger area than conventional gas.
Unconventional gas resources typically require well-stimulation measures in order to be made productive, but recovery rates are much lower than in conventional gas - typically of the order of 15-30% of original gas in place.
The US is estimated to hold about 50% of the total global gas resources, about 74 trillion cubic meters (tcm) (2,096.30 billiob cubic feet (bcf)) in the US. US shale gas production is expected to increase from about 8,134.59bcf in 2012 to about 11,049.45bcf in 2020.
It's an exciting time to be in the energy industry in America. The impact of unconventional oil and gas development on the U.S. economy is considerable, with potentially hundreds of billions of dollars in investments, millions of new jobs, and a renaissance of American ingenuity and innovation.
The emergence of unconventional oil and gas will have tremendous impacts on both the energy industry and the economy. The outlook for unconventional gas is exceptionally bright -- with expectations for relatively low future natural gas prices, enough supply to meet domestic needs, and surplus enough to export to other countries.
While the unconventional oil story continues to unfold and evolve, an abundance of domestic crude oil is expected. And, thus, an opportunity to not only significantly reduce the country's dependence on oil imports, but to also increase energy security.
The International Energy Agency (IEA) has estimated that under the right conditions unconventional gas may meet more than 40% of the increased global demand for gas by the year 2035. However, many questions still remain about how easily unconventional gas resources can be developed outside North America.
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