Surging shale gas production in the US, as well as the possibility of replication of this success worldwide, has the potential
to revolutionize the global energy market. Widely dispersed shale gas reserves indicate the strong potential of shale gas to
emerge as a major alternative source of energy worldwide. According to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA),
technically recoverable shale gas resources globally stand at 7,299 trillion cubic feet (tcf) 1. To put this into perspective, global
natural gas consumption amounted to 116.7 tcf in 20122.
Hydraulic fracturing technology and horizontal drilling have made the revolution possible and continue to be a topic of
debate across the world. Countries such as China, Poland and Argentina view development of shale gas as a key means to
achieve energy security. On the other hand, countries such as France and Bulgaria are concerned about the impact on the
environment and, therefore, continue to impose a moratorium on shale gas-related activities. The hydrocarbon regulatory
regime in most countries was developed prior to the shale boom and relates to conventional exploration and development.
Countries that anticipate an upturn in their shale-related activity may need to modify their existing regulations to include shale
gas or they may have to devise a new regime to govern unconventional resource development.