Shale Works for US: Drilling the Details
When oil production capabilities began to slow in the 1970s, powerhouse energy corporations knew that the industry was in a race to find the next big energy source to meet rising world-wide consumption. However, it wasn’t until horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” came into the picture in the early 2000s that shale gas rose to the forefront of public knowledge.
Shale gas made up 34 percent of U.S. natural gas production in 2011. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce estimates that share will grow to 43 percent by 2015 and 60 percent by 2035.
On July 26th, 2012, in response to shale’s growth as an oil and natural gas resource, the US Chamber of Commerce launched a new program called “Shale Works for US” to educate the general public on the economic advantages shale gas could provide to the country as a whole. According to campaign, the shale gas industry supported 600,000 jobs in 2010 and is set to grow to nearly 870,000 in 2015 if it continues its upward trend.
Despite the potential for economic revitalization, fracking faces criticism from environmentalists. Sustainability advocates warn of the potential impact on water systems and the environment. While industry experts are still researching fracking’s potential environmental impact, it remains one of the largest obstacles in the shale movement.
Combined with smaller stores of natural gas around the globe, the global total of minable shale gas has reached more than 187 trillion cubic meters. The Chinese Ministry of Land and Resources recently reported the following countries as having the highest reserves of minable shale gas:
- The United States
- Afrique du Sud
With untapped energy fueling the fire, and the potential for shale to be a game changer for both the energy industry and the economic futures of the United States and other world countries, shale is certain to remain in the public eye for the foreseeable future.