FAIRFAX, Va., July 24 (UPI) -- Long-term prospects for the shale natural gas sector in the United States aren't very encouraging, Russian natural gas company Gazprom said.
The United States sits on some of the largest deposits of shale natural gas in the world. T. Boone Pickens, a Texas oil magnate, has said abundant gas reserves in the United States make the country the "Saudi Arabia of natural gas."
Coaxing natural gas out of shale deposits to meet that demand, however, is controversial. Critics say chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing fluid could reach water supplies. Advocates said there's little risk if the process is done correctly.
Horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, two processes that make the shale boom possible, have sparked expectations that the United States may soon become a global leader in natural gas exports.
Sergei Komlev, who represents Gazprom's exporting division, said optimism over U.S. natural gas may be overblown.
"We forecast that soon, the disparity between the shale gas costs and sales price will disappear," he told the Platts news service. "When it happens, it will make the U.S. plans to become a major gas exporter economically unviable."
Gazprom worked on its analysis of the U.S. natural gas sector with Pace Global Energy, whose mission, disclosure forms state, is to advocate for Russian gas exports to the United States.