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By 2020, it is estimated that a third of the North American natural gas supply will come from shale...

If you’re not playing the shale game, it might be time to start

Shale plays are estimated to contribute a third of the North American gas supply by 2020. This graph shows the different shale plays in the US and Canada, many of which have yet to tap their full potential. (This chart has been printed with permission from Ziff Energy).

Shale plays are estimated to contribute a third of the North American gas supply by 2020. This graph shows the different shale plays in the US and Canada, many of which have yet to tap their full potential. (This chart has been printed with permission from Ziff Energy).

By 2020, it is estimated that a third of the North American natural gas supply will come from shale plays developed in the US and Canada, said Bill Gwozd, vice president, Ziff Energy Group, in a presentation at the 2010 IADC Drilling Onshore Conference & Exhibition on 20 May in Houston. Plays that already see a high level of activity, such as the Haynesville and Barnett, plus a plethora of emerging shale areas are expected to support the growing supply.

The Marcellus, for example, is producing 0.8 Bcf/day, but predicted to increase to a production of 4.2 Bcf/day by 2020. The Haynesville is producing 1.9 Bcf/day and estimated to grow and produce 4.5 Bcf/day by 2020.

When looking at total shale gas supply, however, Mr Gwozd said that it’s not only the high-activity basins like the Marcellus and Haynesville that are in play. Even relatively small plays like the Ohio Shale, which produces 0.7 Bcf/day, add to the supply total.

Canadian plays also continue to contribute as well. For instance, the Utica play in Quebec has the potential to produce 530 MMcf/day. The Horn River in northeast British Columbia is also estimated to increase production from 0.2 Bcf/day to 2.3 Bcf/day by 2020. “You’re going from wells that are basically producing nothing today, and in ten years you’ve added just a couple of points to the North American supply, and it wasn’t on our radar screen five years ago,” Mr Gwozd said.

Together, Canada and the US could produce 24 Bcf/day of natural gas by 2020.  “If you haven’t played in the shale game … I suggest it,” he said. “There’s a whole lot of growth activity attached to it.”

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