MBA Aspirants are expected to know in regard to new innovations which are happening to find new sources of energy. Today, you will read about Shale gas as a new source of energy – challenges & opportunities
If India & China among other emerging nations have to attain higher economic growth in future and lift millions out of poverty, than the demand for energy and its sources is bound to skyrocket in future. Use of petrol & diesel have increased manifold and its ever increasing demand had sometimes outpaced the supply, thereby skyrocketing their prices.
Researchers have continued to grapple with alternatives like solar, wind and tidal energy. But they have their own limitations to meet the ever increasing demand for energy by emerging nations. Another source of energy – nuclear energy requires huge investments and safety of nuclear installations continues to be an issue in light of recent Fukushima disaster in Japan.
USA, living up to its identity as frontrunner in innovation has come up with technology to commercially retrieve an abundant form of natural gas, called shale gas. Shale gas is natural gas that is found trapped within shale formations. Shales are fine-grained sedimentary rocks that can be rich resources of petroleum and natural gas.
Over the past decade, the combination of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing has allowed access to large volumes of shale gas that were previously uneconomical to produce. The production of natural gas from shale formations has rejuvenated the natural gas industry in the United States.
In 2000 shale gas provided only 1% of U.S. natural gas production; by 2010 it was over 20% and the U.S. government's Energy Information Administration predicts that by 2035, 46% of the United States' natural gas supply will come from shale gas.
Some analysts expect that shale gas will greatly expand worldwide energy supply. China is estimated to have the world's largest shale gas reserves. The increased shale gas production in the US and Canada could help prevent Russia and Persian Gulf countries from dictating higher prices for the gas they export to European countries.
Although the shale gas potential of many nations is being studied, as of 2013, only the US, Canada, and China produce shale gas in commercial quantities, and only the US and Canada have significant shale gas production. Even UK and some other European countries are considering shale gas exploration now. The British Geological Survey estimates there may be 1,300 trillion cubic feet of shale gas present in the north of England.
But the process to extract shale gas - called "fracking" - has proved controversial. Fracking - short for "hydraulic fracturing" - involves drilling deep underground and releasing a high-pressure mix of water, sand and chemicals to crack rocks and release gas stored inside into the wells. This well stimulation is usually conducted once in the life of the well and greatly enhances fluid removal and well productivity, but there has been an increasing trend towards multiple hydraulic fracturing as production declines.
Proponents of hydraulic fracturing point to the economic benefits from the vast amounts of formerly inaccessible hydrocarbons the process can extract. Opponents point to potential environmental effects, including contamination of ground water, depletion of fresh water, risks to air quality and noise pollution.
For these reasons hydraulic fracturing has come under international scrutiny, with some countries protecting it, and others suspending or banning it. However, some of those countries, including most notably the United Kingdom, have recently lifted their bans, choosing to focus on regulations instead of outright prohibition.
The EIA (Energy Information Administration) of US has revised India’s shale gas estimates of recoverables from 63 trillion cubic feet (TCF) to 96 TCF. This (96 TCF) is enough to take care of India’s gas demand for 26 years. India is working with Canada to explore technologies for shale gas exploration in the country.
The premier of Province of Alberta, Canada is expected to offer Indian companies like ONGC state-of-art fracking technologies, to develop the vast potential of shale in this country. ONGC had first struck shale gas at Ichhapur in Burdwan, West Bengal as a pilot project.