Government estimates on US shale gas production conservative – CEO

06 March 2013 21:26  [Source: ICIS news]

AMSTERDAM (ICIS)--Estimates for shale gas production in the US by the Energy Information Administration (EIA) are too conservative, an industry official said on Wednesday, predicting that output will surpass the agency’s projections.

Shale gas production will turn out to be larger than what is being estimated, said Mark Nikolich, chief executive and general manager at Braskem Europe. He did not elaborate on how much gas he believed the US would eventually produce.

Nikolich spoke at the 8th ICIS World Olefins conference, where the outlook for shale production and its impact on US petrochemicals was one of the main topics.

The EIA projects US natural gas production will increase from 23 trillion cubic feet (tcf) in 2011 to 33.1tcf in 2040, a 44% increase.

Almost all of the increase is due to projected growth in shale gas output, which the agency estimates will grow to 16.7tcf in 2040 from 7.8tcf in 2011.

The figures indicate that shale gas will account for just over half of total US natural gas production in 2040 compared with 34% in 2011.

Despite projecting a large increase, the EIA says considerable uncertainty regarding the size and economics of shale gas resources still exist.

Among the uncertainties, the agency cites questions about long-term productivity and doubts about the full potential of shale plays, noting that only a limited portion of formations such as the Marcellus has been extensively tested.

The 8th ICIS World Olefins conference was held in Amsterdam. The event drew 160 delegates from 25 countries.

By: William Lemos
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