By Brian Swint and Nidaa Bakhsh
A record 400 shale wells may be drilled beyond US borders in
2014, with most in China and
, according to energy consultants Wood Mackenzie
While that is a fraction of the thousands of shale wells
drilled in the US, the number of rigs used onshore in Europe and the Asia-Pacific region
has increased 10% over the past year, data compiled by oil
services company Baker Hughes Inc. Most of those rigs are meant
for shale, Bloomberg Businessweek reports in its
November 18 issue.
Its likely there will be a revolution, Maria
van der Hoeven, executive director at the Paris-based
International Energy Agency, said in an interview in London.
But not everywhere at the same time. And you just
cant copy the US experience.
Fracking in the UK will start next year, after the government
lifted an 18-month moratorium imposed when a drilling company
found it had accidentally caused earthquakes. Two
of Britain and
SA of France, have bought stakes in the countrys drilling
licenses to help bankroll the drillers and win a cut of any
History repeats itself, yes, but nothing is ever the
Christof Ruehl, chief economist at
in London. Theres going to be developments outside
the US and North America which will be big and important, no
doubt. But it will take some time.
The shale boom has moved the US closer to energy independence,
added jobs, helped revive manufacturing, and lowered gas bills.
Yet the conditions that fostered the US success do not
exist in Europe and Asia. In some countries,
landowners do not own the oil and gas in the ground: the state
retains all mineral rights. Or a country may levy much heavier
taxes than the US on oil and gas profits.
Once they start fracturing, though, countries such as
, Argentina, and Russia could experience new oil and gas
China has the largest shale gas reserves, estimated at 1,115
Tcf, followed by Argentina at 802 Tcf. In shale oil, Russia
tops the list with about 75 billion barrels, according to a
report by the US Energy Information Administration. Australia,
Poland and Algeria all have big potential.
Argentina may be the first to capitalize on its shale resources
with production expected as early as 2015, according to
research by BCG, the Boston Consulting Group.
Fracturing outside the US is likely to be good for the big oil
Royal Dutch Shell Plc
teamed up with China National Petroleum Corp. this year to
explore in Sichuan, the province that accounts for 40% of
Chinas shale reserves.
is exploring with CNPC in the western Xinjiang region. YPF SA,
the Argentine oil company, has joined with
Dow Chemical Co.
to tap deposits in the south American countrys vast Vaca
Within three to five years, there should be exponential
growth in drilling as there was in the US,
, head of commodities research at Citigroup Inc., said in an
interview. The big problem isnt replicating the
geology; it is replicating the critical ingredients that got
the American shale revolution going.