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Shale Gas, why now? 
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Joined: Sun Oct 03, 2010 1:16 am
Posts: 5
Post Shale Gas, why now?
Hello,

I have some questions concerning shale gas. It's an upcoming source of energy and I seem to be hearing about it more and more. I understand it the extracting of gas directly from the sourcerock. To me this sounds pretty smart as this eliminates all the risk involved with migration and trapping. There fore I would like to know why only now, after a century of oil production this technique is only now being deployed?

    *Is it because it requires deep targets that where not drillable earlier?
    *Is it because it is not that economic due to the low volumes as there is no focus into a porous trap?
    *Is it because gas infrastructure is becoming better, with all the LNG etc?
    *Is it due to new fractionation techniques?
    *Or, is it because we only now discovered the possibility?

It may be all of this but what has been the most important change for applying this technique only recently?

thanks!


Fri Apr 01, 2011 9:37 pm

Joined: Wed Jun 09, 2010 10:26 pm
Posts: 21
Post Re: Shale Gas, why now?
Tamar,

I guess you're right on most suggestion to 'the why so late' for shale gas...

...except the last.

We basically thank the technique to an oil pioneer called George Mitchell who has been battling the technical aspects of extracting shale gas since 1981. Together with his geologists he pushed for deeper wells below his dwindling fields to tap into the source rock directly. Many indeed thought it was too costly, and it was for almost two decades, but he persevered. Now the huge potential has been unlocked and new volume estimates indicate 150 times the worlds annual gas usage being recoverable (and hopefully soon very economical).

The main problems during Mitchells quest where in the fluid and chemicals needed for fracturing of the tight rock, which proved very costly. Eventually in 1997 a mixture of water and sand proved succesful and when Devon Energy bought Mitchells company in 2002 they further enhanced the profitability by applying horizontal drilling. Profit margins are still in the margin and I guess the main advances to be made now is in adjusting day-to-day life to the use of gas. Cars, petrol stations, infrastructure, etc will have to be developed further to increase sales!

I find this a compelling story, especially as Mitchell thought out of the box and was not believed at first. It just shows huge technical discoveries can still be made and potential fame for the creative geologist is far from over...


Fri Apr 01, 2011 11:57 pm

Joined: Thu Mar 31, 2011 5:07 pm
Posts: 1
Post Re: Shale Gas, why now?
Agree with the last post but the man behind the Barnett Shale was Dan Steward. Period. True, Mitchell was George's company, but the guy who fought for the Barnett was Dan. I was there.


Thu Apr 07, 2011 5:26 pm

Joined: Wed Jun 09, 2010 10:26 pm
Posts: 21
Post Re: Shale Gas, why now?
Oh, sorry, my bad! Thanks for this info.

Is mr. Steward still involved with shale gas? Must be such a good feeling to see your ideas finally working out and being picked up by the industry.

May I also ask how you were involved?


Thu Apr 07, 2011 9:43 pm

Joined: Sun Oct 03, 2010 1:16 am
Posts: 5
Post Re: Shale Gas, why now?
Thanks to both of you!

Sounds like a exciting project to have worked on; the Barnett!
An indication of what for revolution it has caused can be seen in China's objective to go for 12% of it's gas demand from these shale gas sources by 2020.

Has anybody been to the SEGs Shale Gas conference by the way??
http://www.seg.org/events/upcoming-seg- ... rum-review


Fri Apr 15, 2011 12:07 pm

Joined: Mon Dec 05, 2011 10:24 pm
Posts: 19
Post Re: Shale Gas, why now?
JPA wrote:
Agree with the last post but the man behind the Barnett Shale was Dan Steward. Period. True, Mitchell was George's company, but the guy who fought for the Barnett was Dan. I was there.

I think it is due to latest techinques as shale gas needs latest geochemical techniques to identify actual potential of source rock and it needs directional drilling

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