Casting a Shadow on the Future of Shale Gas

Current projections for shale oil and gas are huge.  But are they realistic? An article in the February 21 issue of Nature suggests that these projections may be too optimistic:

Wells decline rapidly within a few years. Those in the top five US plays typically produced 80–95% less gas after three years. In my view, the industry practice of fitting hyperbolic curves to data on declining productivity, and inferring lifetimes of 40 years or more, is too optimistic. Existing production histories are a few years at best, and thus are insufficient to substantiate such long lifetimes for wells. Because production declines more steeply than these models typically suggest, the method often overestimates ultimate recoveries and economic performance. . . .

Shale gas thus requires large amounts of capital from industry to maintain production. Over time, the best shale plays and their sweet spots are drilled off, so the costs of keeping up supply will increase. Much of current shale-gas production is uneconomic, and will require higher gas prices just to maintain production, let alone increase it.

Time will tell whether this projection or the more common, optimistic ones turns out to be more accurate.

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Reader Comments

4 Replies to “Casting a Shadow on the Future of Shale Gas”

  1. Today over 100 billion gallons a year of fresh water is turned into toxic fracking fluid. The technology to transform it back to drinkable water does not exist. And, even if it did, where will we put all the radioactive substances we capture from it? This figure will double in the next five years if this crazy policy continues

    We need a united nations ban on turning fresh water into fracking fluid now.

    The gas millionaires will have nothing to spend their money on because they are drowning our green earth with fracking fluid.

    Jesus turned the water into wine but Satan turns it into fracking fluid.

    If you can help to get this message out please do.

    How long will it take to turn all the fresh water on Planet Earth into Toxic Fracking fluid, its just a matter of time.

    Crazy or what?

    The united nations have made a resolution that everyone is entitled to fresh drinking water and sanitation Fracking contradicts this resolution and must stop now.

    My calculations are confirmed by world leading prize winning ecologist Sandra Steingraber

    Peter Baxter

  2. Today over 100 billion gallons a year of fresh water is turned into toxic fracking fluid. The technology to transform it back to drinkable water does not exist. And, even if it did, where will we put all the radioactive substances we capture from it? This figure will double in the next five years if this crazy policy continues

    We need a united nations ban on turning fresh water into fracking fluid now.

    The gas millionaires will have nothing to spend their money on because they are drowning our green earth with fracking fluid.

    Jesus turned the water into wine but Satan turns it into fracking fluid.

    If you can help to get this message out please do.

    How long will it take to turn all the fresh water on Planet Earth into Toxic Fracking fluid, its just a matter of time.

    Crazy or what?

    The united nations have made a resolution that everyone is entitled to fresh drinking water and sanitation Fracking contradicts this resolution and must stop now.

    My calculations are confirmed by world leading prize winning ecologist Sandra Steingraber

    Peter Baxter

Comments are closed.

About Dan

Dan Farber

Dan Farber has written and taught on environmental and constitutional law as well as about contracts, jurisprudence and legislation. Currently at Berkeley Law, he has al…

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