Shale gas is used for a range of applications which includes industrial, power generation, commercial, residential and transportation. It is basically a natural gas which is extracted from different shales. Some major shales are Marcellus, Eagle Ford, Niobrara, Barnett, Bakken among others. In industries, shale gas is used to produce ethane which is a feed stock for various industries. Shale gas itself is used as feedstock for fertilizer industry to produce ammonia. Shale gas is used in power industry replacing coal. Many countries are converting their coal fired power plants to gas fired power plants to reduce carbon emissions. Commercial and residential sectors use shale gas for space heating or cooling, water heaters, and cooking purposes among others. Shale gas is also used as fuel for vehicles.
Shale gas is widely used in power generation and industrial applications. In 2012, Industrial usage accounted for approximately above 30% and is expected to reach approximately to 33% to 35% by 2019. Power generation also accounts for a major portion of the overall shale gas market share and by 2019 it is expected to decrease. Residential usage is expected to increase by 2019, as other renewable energy sources such as solar energy, biogas, etc. are increasingly preferred because they are eco-friendly. Application in the commercial sector is also expected to increase substantially, by 2019. Use of CNG in transportation is slowly rising due to soaring crude oil prices.
EIA has estimated a total of 7,299.0 tcf of total technically recoverable shale gas reserves in the world. China has the largest reserves and ranks first followed by Argentina, Algeria and the U.S. North America is the only region producing shale gas. Rest of the world’s shale gas reserves are intact and carry a great potential to meet future energy demand. U.S. and Canada were the only two countries known to have produced commercial shale gas in 2012 and which had a major contribution to the shale gas market.
In China, shale gas production is expected to commence in 2015, as this region is still in the nascent stages of development. However, China is expected to become one of the rapidly growing markets in terms of shale gas production. Due to environmental issues and public opposition, the development of shale gas production continues to be slow in Europe. Furthermore, commercialization within the forecast period is not expected that could be a probable cause driving the overall shale gas market.
Big companies like Anadarko Petroleum Corporation installed the SPAR platform in 2013 at the Lucius field in the Gulf of Mexico. Production is expected to commence in the second half of 2014. The company paid USD 1 million to the Texas Tech University to build an Unconventional Technology Center. The center would focus on oil recovery techniques and unconventional natural gas. In February 2014, Anadarko and a subsidiary of Brightoil Petroleum (Holdings) Limited signed a stock purchase agreement. The company would divest its China-based subsidiary for USD 1.075 billion later in the year 2014. Also Anadarko is expanding midstream activities by developing its oil gathering pipeline. The company is also increasing its natural gas gathering system capacity to 350 MMcfd (millions of cubic feet per day).
BP plc started the Na Kika Phase 3 in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico in February 2014 and established a joint venture with Z Energy and New Zealand Refining Co. Ltd. In March 2014 to produce and process crude oil through New Zealand’s oil refinery. In July 2013, BP and CNOOC signed an agreement for the exploration of Third Deepwater Block in South China Sea and also opened the largest bio-refinery in the U.K. in Hull in a joint venture with AB Sugar and DuPont. At full capacity, the refinery would produce 420 million liters of bio-ethanol per year.