HOUSTON, May 9 (UPI) -- It's going to be tough to replicate the U.S. shale natural gas boom because other countries lack the necessary workforce and infrastructure, an executive said.
New methods of extracting natural gas from shale formations in the United States have put the country in a leadership position in terms of reserves. The U.S. Energy Department said in a May report that natural gas production should reach 70.1 billion cubic feet per day next year, up from the 69.2 billion cubic feet per day in 2012.
ConocoPhillips LNG Marketing Manager Chip Schuppert told an offshore energy conference in Houston that part of that boom was because of factors that had little to do with the technology itself.
"You had an existing infrastructure that was already in place: the pipeline infrastructure that was quite extensive with third-party access," he was quoted by energy reporting website Rigzone as saying. "You had a very well developed service industry and a very mobile and skilled workforce."
Eastern European countries are looking to shale to add diversity to a natural gas market dominated by Russia's Gazprom. Asian economies, meanwhile, expect shale gas to help meet growing energy demands.
"I think it's going to be challenging for other places in the world to develop as quickly as did North America," Schuppert said.