Shale gas positive for economy but damaging to green solutions

09 May 2012 18:03  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--Shale gas could be detrimental to ‘green’ solutions but it is creating a low cost energy source that can improve economies, said research and consulting firm Frost & Sullivan on Wednesday.

“Shale gas is a real phenomenon and is going to change our energy mix for sure over the next 10-15 years," said Bill Stringer, consultant and practice director for Frost & Sullivan’s chemicals, materials and foods business.  

Pockets of shale gas are being discovered worldwide in developed and non-developed areas and, in some cases, in particular in North America, could potentially change the whole dynamics of national economies by delivering a very low cost energy source, he added.

However, shale gas has received bad press across the globe and the fracking process has been blamed for causing environmental problems.

“There has been quite a lot of bad press, [particularly] in the UK, like earthquakes in Blackpool [caused by the fracking process],” said Stringer.

“Perhaps [it is] detrimental to some green solutions but it [shale gas] certainly is creating a low cost natural gas source, even here in Europe," he added.

Stringer said that shale gas is also a great source of additional ethane, and ultimately ethylene, which is a key raw material for many chemicals and materials. He added that because of this, the cost of ethylene is being driven down.

Stringer said that by 2020, 50% of natural gas in North America will come from shale gas, which is a significant shift from three or four years ago.

“This has a huge impact on the cost of natural gas in North America, driving it down to between $3-5/mBtu. This is probably a third of what it was two or three years ago,” he added.

By: Leigh Stringer
+44 208 652 3214

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