The Shale Revolution – Myth or Reality?
Principal Consultant, Frost & Sullivan
Where is this shale revolution coming from?
It is the application of two mature technologies - hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling - in
a new context to unlock oil and gas from well-known rock formations with low permeability
Following vertical drilling down to the shale bed rock, drilling is deviated to achieve a horizontal direction.
The resulting horizontal bore is then punctured at various locations to weaken the bedrock
High-pressure water containing various fracturing chemicals and sand is injected into the perforations to
induce artificial fracturing of the rock and facilitate the permeation of gas into the well
Where can we find shale resources?
Shale resources are distributed much more widely than conventional oil & gas fields
Source: EIA, December 2015
How did the shale gas revolution in the US impacted gas prices?
A natural gas surplus in the United States has pushed prices down – below 2$/MBTU in 2016
• Natural gas is a regional market as it needs a costly infrastructure to transport and store it, while oil is a
global market as it is easy to transport & store as a liquid
• In Asia, gas prices used to be especially high – 4 times as high as in the US in 2012 – supported by strong
economic growth in China & the switch from nuclear to fossil fuel in Japan to produce electricity
• With the economic slowdown in China and the restart of nuclear power plant in Japan, Asian and European
sport prices have levelled off around $8 per MBTU
Source: Frost & Sullivan analysis
Natural gas spot prices
- $/MBTU, 2012 -
Is shale gas production profitable in the US?
As breakeven prices varies from 4 to 8 $/kcf, the shale gas industry has been selling shale gas
at a loss since 2009
2008 financial crisis
Ever increasing number of rigs drilling in the US
Lack of infrastructure to transport it
Natural gas surplus in the US pushing prices down from 11$/kcf in 2008 to 2$/kcf in 2012
Source: Jean Laherrere, November 2013; Art Berman
Break-even gas priceUS Number of gas rigs vs. Natural Gas price
Producing shale gas or producing shale oil?
That is the question...
• The "baby drill” practice is due to the shale oil boom, itself caused by the high oil price and the easy money
flows provided by the eased monetary policy
• After the gas prices crashed in July 2008, most of the rigs where transferred from shale gas to shale oil
which explains the current shale oil boom
US rig count
Source: Ron Patterson, February 2016, Baker Hugues
What is the upper limit for shale oil and gas production in the US?
Probably not the sky as US shale gas production in July 2015 after the US shale oil
production peaked in April 2015
US tight oil production
- Millions barrels of oil per day-
US shale gas dry production
- Billion cubic feet per day -
What are the future prospects for natural gas production in the US?
Down as total natural gas dry production peaked again in September 2015 since shale gas
additions did not compensate any more the decline of conventional natural gas production
US natural gas dry production
- Billion cubic feet per Day, 2006 to 2015 -
Shale Gas Conventional Gas
What are the future prospects for crude oil production in the US?
Down as total crude oil production peaked again in July 2015 since new shale oil wells did not
compensate any more for the decline of existing shale oil wells
US crude oil production
- Millions barrels per day, January 2010 to April 2016 -
Source : EIA
The Shale Revolution - Myth or Reality?
It is a reality in the US with more than 50% of both crude oil and natural gas production.
It is still a myth elsewhere and much higher price are needed to turn it into reality
Bird’s eye view of a Texas shale gas field
- Click on the image-
Source : Google maps: https://goo.gl/maps/gE9Dp
The US Energy Independence - Myth or Reality?
Even though they are currently self-sufficient gas-wise, the energy independence is not for
tomorrow as they still imports 7 millions barrels per day i.e. 40% of their crude oil consumption
Crude oil net imports from the top 5 importers
- Millions barrels per day, 1986 to 2015 -
Source: EIA, BP
China India Japan South Korea United States
The US Oil Independence from Saudi Arabia - Myth or Reality?
In 2014, the US imported 1.2 million barrels per day from Saudi Arabia, an increase of 10%
compared to 2011 when the shale oil revolution had not started yet
US Crude oil net imports by country of origin
- Millions barrels per day, 1973 to 2015 -
Energy & Transportation Practices
(+33) 1 42 81 23 24