Monday, June 04, 2012

Russia Still Has the Most Gas, for Now

Planet Earth's natural gas reserves are growing. The future apparently belongs to those who are able to best utilise the abundant resources of all forms of usable energy. Human ingenuity is the key.

Real Clear Energy

The bar chart represents gas supplies from four sources: 1) conventional gas (blue); 2) shale gas (yellow); 3) tight formations (red); and 4) coalbed methane (purple). Conventional sources are the younger formations, mostly from the Tertiary (post-dinosaur) Era, where the sedimentary rock has not yet been subject to severe pressures and the gas escapes easiliy when tapped. Shale formations were the first pre-Tertiary formations to be accessed through hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”). They are compressed clay that must be broken up by high-pressure water injection before the gas can escape. “Tight gas” is in ancient limestone or sandstone formations similar to shale where the rock has been so compressed and hardened that it must also be broken up by fracking. Coalbed methane is methane gas that seeps naturally from coal formations near the surface of the earth. Often capture involves little more than installing small, ground-level collectors.

The discovery of shale deposits has also vaulted Western Hemisphere countries such as Argentina, Mexico and Canada into the upper ranks. Australia has almost equal amounts from all sources and figures to be a big exporter over the next decade. The countries that continue doing the most importing will be Europe and Japan, which do not have appreciable reserves from any source, although Norway has offshore gas and Britain is now discovering some shale reserves.

As usually happens, the first exploration has occurred in the developed countries. It is more than likely, however, that huge reserves are still waiting to be discovered in Africa, the South Pacific and unexplored areas of the Arctic and South America. _RCE

Human ingenuity is the key to the future. Which populations of humans can exhibit the most ingenuity and resourcefulness in meeting the challenge for future energy and resources? The people with the most resources under their feet, or the people who devise the cleverest ways of utilising the resources?

Humans have barely begun to explore the vast energy and resource reserves in and around their home planet.



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