Fast-growing Energy Needs
Population growth and the vitality of emerging economies are driving the rise in energy demand on a global scale. The International Energy Agency (IEA) is forecasting that demand will increase 40 to 50% by 2030.
By that time, natural gas is expected to account for about 25% of the global energy mix, versus 21% in 2010. Conventional gas deposits located near consumption centers were the first to be tapped and now need to be replaced by either:
- Imports of conventional gas produced far from consumption centers and transported by pipeline or tanker, or
- Unconventional gas such as shale gas.
Shale Gas and Power Generation
Like natural gas from any other source, shale gas emits 50% less CO2 than coal when burned. If shale gas were to replace coal as the primary energy source in power plants, it would permit lower-carbon generation to help meet commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Shale gas offers huge potential . It accounts for the majority of the world’s recoverable unconventional gas - shale gas, tight gas and coalbed methane - estimated by the IEA at 380 trillion cubic meters, or 120 to 150 years of natural gas supply at the current rate of consumption.
Estimates of recoverable shale gas reserves in Europe range from 3 trillion to 12 trillion cubic meters (source: Cambridge Energy Research Associates – CERA).
...with the Potential to Contribute to Energy Independence
Because gas shale is found in many regions of the world, developing these resources should enable:
- The United States to become a gas exporter in the next ten years, since it will produce enough gas to meet domestic demand.
- Fast-growing economies like China and India to acquire the energy resources needed to fuel their development.
- Europe to double its reserve life, allowing it to considerably reduce its imports, which are constantly rising.
Moreover, the advent of unconventional gas - shale gas, tight gas and coalbed methane - in the U.S. market has increased the amount of natural gas available. This easing of supply has pushed down gas prices in the region, benefiting consumers and inductry alike.
Benefits for the Local Economy
Shale gas development in the United States has created wealth not just nationally, but also locally by delivering:
- Direct financial benefits in the form of income tax royalties and other taxes paid by oil companies. These taxes take different forms, depending on the legislation of the countries concerned.
- Indirect advantages stemming mainly from:
- Job creation: direct employment in gas production, with oil companies and contractors, logistics, construction, services to industry, etc., as well as indirect jobs in retail activities, training, personal services and other areas.
- Development of new industries attracted by local ga supply.
- Creation of exportable industrial know-how.