In the US the shale revolution began in the late 1990s. The first modern shale well was drilled a few miles north of Fort Worth, Texas. Since then shale oil and natural gas have enlivened the energy industry in the US.
According to a US-government contracted study from 2011, 32 countries approximately hold 6.6 quadrillion cubic feet of shale gas, more than 50 years worth of current global consumption. Only 13 % of the estimated resource is in the US.
However, because of government ownership of mineral rights, environmental concerns, and a lack of infrastructure to drill and transport gas and oil, oil companies run into obstacles to export the US model to other countries. Also in most countries much less is known about the geology than in the US, where drilling activity has been going on for long.
Therefore, the US and Canada could remain the main countries to take economic advantage of shale development for some time.
In Poland early wells have hit less gas than expected. Community wariness of drilling and changes to the government’s tax and royalty rules make it less interesting.
China is believed to have more shale oil and gas than the US. Most of it is in arid or heavily populated areas.
In Argentina an enormous shale deposit has been discovered which is estimated to hold nearly one billion barrels of oil. Outside investment suffers from rules making it difficult to import needed technology and export potential profits.
Other countries, like France and Bulgaria, have banned hydraulic fracking because of environmental concerns.
- Firms Hit Hurdles Trying to Replicate U.S. Success Abroad,
The Wall Street Journal, Dec. 2, 2012.