Developments in hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, and horizontal drilling have led to exponential increases in U.S. natural gas production since at least 2005. Geological complexities have presented obstacles to a replication of the phenomenon outside the United States.
Robert Clarke, director of research into the area for Wood Mackenzie, said U.S. shale gas production has evolved from operations in easy-to-reach and highly productive basins to what he's describing as "unconventional 3.0" -- a phase characterized by a lessons-learned approach to areas once considered too difficult for commercial drilling.
"Europe is one of the best areas outside of the United States for this to occur," he said Wednesday in an e-mailed statement.
His report says countries outside the United States -- notably Mexico, Russia, Poland, Ukraine and the United Kingdom -- could capitalize on this potential with the right equipment in place.
"Unconventional 3.0 could become the first success phase of international unconventional projects, instead of the last," he said.