Monday, October 12, 2009

Natural Gas from Shale

Suddenly a burst of articles about old news. Yes, companies developed technology of horizontal drilling which allows to extract gas (and some oil) from shale. Those who follows oil and natgas industries know about it since last year.

Is it game changing? Somewhat. This technology probably doubled world natural gas reserves in less than a year. It added a little to the oil reserves. As a new technology, it has a lot of room for improvement, so I expect gas and oil reserves to increase even more.

Is there a trade or investment here? Not much. Obviously, natural gas prices in US aren't going to grow much anymore, supply is way too big. Additional supply of oil is too small to make a change. Situation in Europe is different. As far as I know, Poland and Estonia have huge shale fields. In Estonia it was even feasible to use shale rock as a fuel. With Europe looking to diversify gas sources from Russia, it might be a very bad news for Gazprom. Don't even think about investing in it.

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