The Oil Depletion Analysis Centre (ODAC) has an interesting viewpoint on shale gas in this weeks ODAC newsletter
Plans to revolutionise energy markets through shale gas fracking provoked mixed reactions this week. A study by scientists from Duke University (see news report here) found evidence that methane leaks from fracking are polluting drinking water, though they found no evidence of fracking fluids in the water. The study is likely to be used by both supporters and opponents of the technology.
A new report by the Post Carbon Institute (download PDF here) focuses on what it argues are unrealistic projections for shale gas production in the US, calling into question plans to use gas to reduce US dependence on foreign oil. Energy Information Administration (EIA) production scenarios anticipate 45% of US gas to come from shale by 2035, which would require unprecedented rates of drilling especially given the fast depletion rates of shale plays, safety concerns, and higher costs.
Even within the gas industry there are those who are anticipating a slowdown in the shale boom. In the words of Neal Anderson of Wood MacKenzie, “They’re starting to wake up that a lot of companies are just simply churning cash here. And the real winners in this are the service companies…. I’ll remind you of that old adage from the California gold rush: The guys that really made the money were the guys selling the shovels. It looks a little bit like that.”