Shale gas a game changer?

WASHINGTON, Dec. 8 (UPI) -- Technology used to exploit natural gas locked in shale deposits could transform the geopolitical dynamics in the global energy sector, a U.S. analyst suggests.

Explorers are using hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling techniques to release gas trapped in shale rock formations, creating a market frenzy over shale gas.


Robert Manning, an energy adviser to the Atlantic Council, points to projections from the U.S. Energy Information Agency that suggest shale gas could make up more than 60 percent of the domestic market by 2030. Similar trends are expected in Asia and the Pacific Rim.

Manning notes that shale gas technology could undermine Russian dominance in the European energy sector and wreck Iran's chances of become a major gas player.

"If high-end estimates of shale gas production prove accurate it may alter the energy mix in the U.S. and other nations," he adds.

Spokesmen with Russian gas monopoly Gazprom refute the claims, saying conventional resources are less expensive than shale gas in the long term.

Regardless, technological advancements in the exploitation of shale gas could bring greater diversity to regional energy markets.

"That is to say, shale gas could have substantial impact on the gas market, the role of gas relative to other energy sources and not least, the geopolitics of energy security," Manning says.


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