Bizjournals.com – Shale potential could be even bigger in Russia, China

dbjThe shale revolution that started here in the Barnett Shale could have even bigger potential worldwide in countries such as Russia and China, according to the Energy Information Administration report released today.

Russia’s potential for shale oil dwarfs the United States by 17 billion barrels. Looking at shale gas, the U.S. (665 trillion cubic feet) is actually fourth behind China (1,115 trillion cubic feet), Argentina (802 trillion cubic feet) and Algeria (707 trillion cubic feet).

The report analyzed 137 shale formations in 41 countries. It shows gas reserves increased 10 percent from 2011 to 2013 just in the United States.

It’s important to note that the EIA is looking at “technically recoverable” resources, which means it can be recovered and produced using today’s technology as opposed to “economically recoverable,” meaning it can be produced for a profit.

The EIA also points out that only the U.S. and Canada are currently fracking shales at commercial quantities, for now.

Shale oil consists of 26 percent of the United States’ “technically recoverable” resources. For the whole world, shale oil consists of 10 percent of the world’s supply.

It’s clear that Chinese companies such as Sinochem are investing in big oil plays like the Permian Basin in West Texas while South Korean firms are interested in acquiring the technology perfected in Texas for use in their own country.

But there are challenges to some countries, like China, harvesting its natural gas.

Chris Faulkner, CEO of Dallas-based Breitling Oil & Gas, has traveled to China where the natural gas shales are and he said the mountainous geography could make it extremely expensive to recover.

The rough terrain not only makes it hard to build a pad site but the country lacks natural gas pipeline infrastructure to haul natural gas to market.