By CASSIE WERBER
LAUSANNE, Switzerland -- Russia and China will lead the way
in the production of resources from shale after the US,
according to executives, but Europe will likely lag behind.
Torbjorn Tornqvist, CEO of trading house Gunvor, said
Wednesday it was clear that shale production on a scale similar
to that in the US is possible in several of the world's biggest
current energy producers and consumers -- but that Europe is
unlikely to be transformed by it.
Surging production of
oil and gas from unconventional sources has seen the US
outstrip predictions to become one of the world's most
"Is it possible to adapt that elsewhere? And the answer is
yes, but not everywhere," Mr. Tornqvist said. "I think in
Russia, you will see the first major change. You have the
political climate there to drive through large-scale shale
operations both in gas and oil."
He also said that China, Australia and South America were
promising as a shale-exploiting countries.
Mr. Tornqvist sounded a much less positive note for Europe,
which has so far been divided on its approach to the relatively
new technology of hydraulic fracturing,
the method of extracting shale resources known as fracking.
France has voiced strong opposition to the idea, while the UK
government has insisted that shale gas
production "will happen."
Mr. Tornqvist said: "Europe? You all know the problems
there: political problems, no-one really wants to see rigs on
the landscape -- and problems and fears about groundwater and
so forth will prevent Europe from exploiting its resources,
which aren't that big anyway."
The Gunvor CEO was addressing the Financial Times Global
Commodities Summit in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Bob H. Takai, general manager in energy for Sumitomo,
speaking in a panel discussion that followed Tornqvist's talk,
said that China could rival Russia as the biggest shale
"As far as the reserve is concerned I think China has got
the largest potential reserves of shale oil and shale gas, even
bigger than the US," Mr. Takai said. He added that before those
reserves could be accessed China would struggle with problems
ranging from infrastructure to the availability of water.
The discussion led Tornqvist to reiterate: "It will take a
long time. And if I was to put the first nation to do that in
the scale, I would guess today Russia.
"Because they, through their political system, they have
decided to do it," he said. "They have the infrastructure, they
have the tradition of drilling gas, it isn't so densely
populated, they have the water, they have the ingredients.
"And they're already doing it," he said. "I know from my
talks with Gazprom; they have advanced plans to get into shale
gas and shale oil."
Dow Jones Newswires