World Entering “Golden Age of Gas”

Drillers are trying to replicate the U.S. shale gas revolution in places such as China, Russia, India, South Africa, Australia, Argentina, the U.K, and Poland.

Apr 6, 2014 at 1:59PM

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Bloomberg published a lengthy article on the proliferation of shale gas drilling around the world, with interviews from top oil and gas executives. Drillers are trying to replicate the U.S. shale gas revolution in places such as China, Russia, India, South Africa, Australia, Argentina, the U.K, and Poland, among other places, according to the report. For example, Shell is working with Sinopec to tap the world's largest shale gas reserves in China; Chevron teamed up with YPF SA to drill the massive Vaca Muerta shale formation in Argentina; and oil and gas companies are lining up to move into Mexico to drill the Mexican side of the Eagle Ford shale.

And there are more places that haven't been drilled yet. The U.K. appears to be sitting on a "mother lode," as Bloomberg calls it. The Bowland-Hodder formation holds more than 37 trillion cubic meters of natural gas in central Britain – only a bit smaller than the vast Marcellus shale in the United States and enough gas to meet more than 40 years of British demand. The conservative government headed up by David Cameron is eager to get the industry going. And with Russia's takeover of Crimea, European countries may feel a bit more urgency to tap their shale resources. "Shale gas could be very, very important for this country; it could be transformative," says John Browne, former BP CEO and current Chairman of Cuadrilla Resources Ltd. "It's like the opening of Alaska or western Siberia or the Gulf of Mexico."

Bloomberg argues that the world will need $37 trillion in investment in energy infrastructure over the next 21 years, and renewable energy will only grow slowly. The vast resources of shale gas in so many different places suggest that the world is entering a "Golden Age of Gas."

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Written by James Burgess  at

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David Hanson owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway and American Express. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway, Google, and Coca-Cola.We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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