Natural gas extracted from shale rock formations has become the fastest-growing source of gas in the United States and other countries throughout the world are now evaluating how they can harness this emerging energy source.
U.S. Shale Gas Development
The development of natural gas from shale has proceeded quickly in the United States, where the energy industry has long known about huge gas resources trapped in shale rock formations. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), of the 2,300 trillion cubic feet of technically recoverable natural gas resources estimated to be in the U.S., almost a quarter is held in shale rock formations.
It is only over the past decade that energy companies have been able to economically unlock natural gas from shale by combining two established technologies: hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling. As a result, natural gas from shale has grown to about 35 percent of U.S. gas production during that time. According to EIA estimates, this resource could account for nearly 50 percent of U.S. production by 2035.
Developing natural gas from shale promises to further enhance the U.S. energy sector and help to strengthen local and state economies and fuel job growth. The natural gas industry invested more than $12 billion in Pennsylvania in 2011 while supporting more than 200,000 jobs across the region.
Global Potential for Developing Natural Gas From Shale
The International Energy Agency currently estimates that global recoverable shale gas resources stand at 7,345 trillion cubic feet, so it's conceivable that this resource could one day offer similar benefits to other countries.
Although exploration and development of these resources outside of the United States are still in the early stages, Chevron is acquiring shale acreage around the world. We are at various stages of exploration in a number of countries, including Argentina, Canada, China, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Ukraine.
Updated: June 2013