Shale oil, gas resources ‘abundant’ worldwide, EIA/ARI study finds

A corrected version of this story was reposted online June 11.

Shale oil and shale gas resources are “abundant” around the globe, according to a recent study conducted by Advanced Resources International Inc. under contract to the US Energy Information Administration. The EIA/ARI study also ranks Russia in the top spot for technically recoverable shale oil resources.

The study, released June 10, estimates that global shale resources—in conjunction with the agency’s own assessment of resources within the US—indicate technically recoverable worldwide resources of 345 billion bbl of shale oil and 7,299 tcf of shale gas. Worldwide shale gas resources increased 10% over estimates made 2 years ago in a previous study.

Unlike the previous study, which focused exclusively on shale gas, the most recent study assesses both shale oil and gas resources and employs more and better geological information for formations outside the US. However, the study still does not assess many prospective shale formations, such as those in the Middle East and the Caspian region, EIA noted.

Among the 42 countries assessed, Russia is ranked first for technically recoverable shale oil resources with 75 billion bbl. China, with 1,115 tcf, is ranked first for technically recoverable shale gas resources. The US is ranked second after Russia for shale oil resources and fourth after Algeria for shale gas resources.

The assessment broadly examines worldiwide unconventional oil and gas resource potential. Some of the geological formations lacked sufficient information for in-depth analysis, and the report did d not include firm estimates on them.

“These shale oil and shale gas resource estimates are highly uncertain and will remain so until they are extensively tested with production wells,” EIA said.

Meanwhile, global technically recoverable shale resources may not be economically recoverable, given the variation across the world’s shale formations in both geology and above-the-ground conditions. “The market impact of shale resources outside the United States will depend on their own production costs and volumes,” EIA said.

Contact Conglin Xu at conglinx@ogjonline.com.

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