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Unconventional gas shows promise

Oilfield Technology,

Douglas Westwood has forecast strong growth in the drilling and production of unconventional gas through to 2020.

Following the success of the now well-established shale gas industry in North America, Europe and the Asia-pacific region are likely to follow suit and the weshould see continual development of the unconventional gas sector. Douglas Westwood are predicting that global production of unconventional gas could reach 800 billion m3 by 2020, up from 450 billion m3 in 2011.

Although production outside North America is currently low, exploration activity has increased dramatically in recent years in countries such as Australia, China and Poland. Global energy market conditions have made unconventional gas development economically feasible, but commercial production in Europe is not expected until at the least the middle of this decade.

The role of natural  gas in the world’s primary energy mix is set to grow ever-more important in the coming years. With gas consumption growing relative to oil, natural gas production will increase dramatically in future decades. Natural gas is being touted as a bridging fuel towards a low-carbon world, while lingering doubts around long-term supply of oil are also fueling gas demand.

Within this climate, the development of unconventional gas can be viewed as game changing. The reserve size and location of gas (along with the prevailing conditions) mean in the coming years unconventional gas development may have an effect on the world similar or greater than that of LNG.

Joseph Dutton, Douglas Westwood said, “Since 2010 in excess of $70bn has spent on M&A transactions involving unconventional gas operators and service companies. With the majority of these in the North American market, investment has since turned to development opportunities in Europe and Asia-Pacific. The growing importance of natural gas in the global energy market ensures that unconventional gas will play a fundamental role in primary energy production in the future.”

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