Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Shale Oil Discoveries Goes International, Easing Peak Oil Concerns

Last week, Argentina and China reported major Shale oil discoveries


Argentina's YPF oil and gas company has announced a historic oil discovery in the country's southern province of Neuquen, Press TV reports.

Yacimientos Petroliferos Fiscales (YPF) new finding includes 927 million barrels of recoverable oil and natural gas, of which 741 million barrels is shale oil.

“They [YPF] have an important discovery, and they have to expand it. The major challenge is to develop the technology and raise the capital in order to produce at reasonable prices,” Daniel Gerold, an energy market analyst told Press TV.


The shale gas revolution spread to China yesterday as Royal Dutch Shell struck the rock-based fossil fuel while drilling, heralding the country's first commercial production.

In a joint venture with its local partner, PetroChina, Shell has drilled two wells and discovered a good flow of gas.

"It's good news for shale gas," said Professor Yuzhang Liu, vice president of Petrochina's Research Institute of Petroleum Exploration and Development. Shale gas is fraught with controversy because it is extracted from the rock with blasts of sand, water and chemicals through a process known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, that has been linked to earthquakes and water pollution.

However, the discovery of vast quantities of the gas in countries such as the US, Poland and the UK has the potential to provide a relatively cheap, secure source of energy.

In April, the US Energy Information Administration estimated that China may hold 1,275 trillion cubic feet of shale gas, 12 times its conventional gas reserves and almost 50 per cent greater than in the US.

With the spate of Shale oil discoveries which should be expected to increase, as I previously wrote,

Eventually the growth of the industry will likely reach a scale enough to incentivize a structural change or reconfiguration in the distribution of demand.

This implies an easing of relevance of peak oil.


The debate over whether the world's reserves of hydrocarbons have now peaked and are in decline has lost relevance over recent years as new technology allows oil companies to find and exploit new hydrocarbon sources, the CEO of Repsol Antonio Brufau said Tuesday.

Brufau said progress made in exploring and developing ultra-deepwater areas, unconventional oil and gas sources and the move into remote areas such as the Arctic, have been key to growing global reserves of oil and gas.

"The speed at which technology changes and its consequences have taken us largely by surprise. The peak oil debate, for example, has lost a great deal of its relevance in the past three years," Brufau told the World Petroleum Congress in Doha.

"The possibility that usable resources under commercially viable terms will run out is no longer a concern in the short or medium term," he said.

(Hat tip Professor Mark Perry)

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