IEA: World gas reserves are enough for 250 years

IEA: World gas reserves are enough for 250 years
# 21 January 2011 11:20 (UTC +04:00)
Baku - APA-Economics. As technology has developed for extracting “unconventional gas” from the ground new estimates have been made about the how many years of gas usage remains at present usage levels. It is estimated at 250 years but may be revised upwards, supercom portal reported.

This is according to the International Energy Agency (IEA), an energy “think tank” of some of the worlds richer nations which and acts as an energy advisor to its member states.

Following the recent successful production of unconventional gas in the US many other nations around the world are examining and evaluating whether they can benefit from their own resources. Australia, China, India and Indonesia are leading the way. There is also interest in the UK, Europe, South Africa and Argentina.

The new extraction technique relies on fracturing the shale rock with a series of tiny explosions to allow it to flow to the bore hole. Combined with improved techniques for gathering geological data and the soaring price of conventional natural gas has spurred on the gas production.

But shale is not the only “unconventional gas”, coal bed methane and tight gas, trapped in impermeable rock formations also have large reserves and can benefit from the new technique.

After introducing the new gas production technology the US has gone from being a potential gas importer to being the world’s biggest gas producer in just a few years.

Anne-Sophie Corbeau, a Senior Gas Analyst at the IEA said: “Production of ‘unconventional’ gas in the US has rocketed in the past few years, going beyond even the most optimistic forecasts. It is no wonder that its success has sparked such international interest.”

There are critics of the new gas extraction methods, mostly from environmentalists who claim that the gas can pollute the ground water as vast amounts of water are pumped into wells to extract the gas after it is released. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is currently conducting an investigation, which will enable a much more accurate assessment of environmental issues to be made. People in the US have reported inflammable gas coming out of faucets instead of water.

At present the world cannot rely on renewable energy for all its energy needs and there will continue to be a big demand for carbon based energy. With gas having only half the carbon emissions of coal, and now news that their is up to 250 years worth of gas resources in the ground, gas will be a main resource for years to come.