Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Shale Gas in North America to plug the liquids gap?

This piece is pure speculation.

That said, take four unrelated pieces of information and attempt to draw conclusions.

As of December 2010, the quantity of recoverable shale gas reserves was upgraded from some 400 trillion cubic feet to some 800 trillion cubic feet (in the USA ALONE - i.e. ignoring Canada) as better survey data came in.

Another is that due to improvements in process technology for extraction of this gas, in a large minority of cases, the cost of extraction of this gas was less than that for conventional gas.

Currently the price per BTU for gas on the North American market is significantly less than the price per BTU for oil.

Last but not least is the interesting tidbit that SASOL corporation, the worlds leading producer of coal and gas to liquids has been eyeing up the undeveloped shale gas play in Northern British Columbia with a view to building a gas-to-liquids plant.

Can we connect the dots here? Is there a pattern forming?

One last question: obviously money can be made at this since there is a differential between natural gas prices and oil prices which should only widen as oil supplies tighten. Since SASOL is apparently already in play, HOW MUCH can be produced?

Can we plug the gap in decline in North America at the least while production of electric vehicles ramps up?

Interesting times

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