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The Forum > Article Comments > Shale gas: the view from Russia > Comments

Shale gas: the view from Russia : Comments

By Dmitry Orlov, published 11/5/2012

In the best gas acreage in the US the return from a well is one-two-hundredth that of the average well in Russia.

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It appears that the long term gas prospects for Victoria, New South Wales, South Australia and Tasmania depend upon the success of fracking. It had been thought that post carbon tax that ageing coal fired baseload plant would be replaced with combined cycle for 50% CO2 savings. However increases in the price of gas fuel could quickly erase the carbon tax advantage.

To make matters worse LNG export is sucking up most of the WA offshore gas and a large part of Qld coal seam gas. Shell is building the world's largest ship to liquefy gas at sea off WA and load it directly onto tankers so that a pipe to shore is unnecessary.

Minor onshore players are hopeful that fracking and horizontal drilling will pay off
but Australia will need at least 20 million tonnes of gas of year for the indefinite future. That's for peaking power, heating applications, fertiliser and plastic production and to balance existing wind and solar generation. It does not include a wholesale switch to CNG as a diesel replacement or replacing big coal power stations in the NSW Hunter Valley or the Vic Latrobe Valley. I'm not sure where the gas will come from for the Sydney trigen experiment.

My guess is that in the next year or two there will be a fracking reality check. I'd like one of the Canberra think tanks to estimate how much gas Australia will need to say 2050, how much we can afford to export and what if fracking disappoints.
Posted by Taswegian, Friday, 11 May 2012 11:36:34 AM
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Get real, by 2030 there will be no affordable oil or petrol for the masses. WE will collectively kill each other well before 2050.

Mad max? Heaven compared to the "Rwandascape" that is going to happen.

Facebook and smart techs won't help. No oil, no tech! It takes massive amounts of oil in plastics for starters.

It is that bleak! What's worse politicians are smart enough to KNOW this. But they devise diversions like the ETS and CO2 greenhouse climate that they use to tell us they are solving the problem while knowingly making it worse and getting their rocks off with the power that brings.

Mad max had it easy!
Posted by KAEP, Friday, 11 May 2012 11:51:04 AM
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Right, so the yanks are fudging the books while the russkies are on the up and up; that's a great premise to glue a few dismal 'stats' about the shale gas bubble around; still it hooked a couple of doom and gloomers. Stock up on those cans boys!

Seriously, uranium, thorium, deuterium, all neglected while tens of billions is thrown at 'renewables'.

Well and good that the greens hate the corporate mongrels who control fossils and the uraniums but the perversity of their position is that the real energy sources are being thrown out in attacking the corporates.
Posted by cohenite, Friday, 11 May 2012 12:59:11 PM
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If the US gas is too expensive to market to Europe so be it.. if its too expensive, at present prices, then the hype will die away... It is all the better for Aus as we already had vast gas reserves before any of this..

KAEP - its been shown to you so many times that oil, as such, is not going to run out any time soon.. go back to earlier this week on this forum

Teh author of that article is a peak oiler and he is agreeing that it doesn't mean the end of oil as such.. just a switch from conventional to unconventional/deep sea.. now I still disagree with that, but his position is at least an arguable one while yours is not. He even claims people like you (saying oil will run out) are so few as to not be worth mentioning..
Posted by Curmudgeon, Friday, 11 May 2012 1:58:00 PM
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Thereís an old saying that a half truth, like a half brick, travels further and does more damage.

This article is full of half-truths designed to paint unconventional gas in an unfavourable light.

So itís true that fracking technology has been around for decades, but the horizontal drilling techniques that also underpin the boom in US shale gas are new.

Itís also true that unconventional gas wells typically yield less gas than conventional ones, and exploiting unconventional gas field means regularly closing existing wells and drilling new ones. Geology prevents gas from migrating easily through the shale. The key question is the amount of gas that can be extracted economically, not the number of wells needed to do it. Drilling lots of wells is no problem if each one covers its costs.

If the Poles found too much nitrogen in their gas they can either clean it or leave it in the ground. There is no reason to suspect that ALL shale gas contains too much nitrogen to be economic Ė itís clearly not so in the USA.

Itís true that the gas market is currently highly segmented, and spot sales are rare. The economics of LNG mean that costs increase sharply the further the ship has to travel, and this limits the capacity of producers to compete over long distances. But there is no reason in principle why these segments couldnít be blurred, especially at the edges, as the economics change. The USA mothballed its LNG import terminals thanks to the development of unconventional gas and is now starting to convert some to export rather than import gas. Markets change. And it you were a Japanese gas purchaser, would you rather buy from Russia or the USA, given the formerís record of withholding supplies for economic and political ends?

The US shale gas story is a target for catastrophiles because it demonstrates yet again what they persistently refuse to accept Ė that markets work. High energy prices induce exploration and innovation to find new ways of meeting energy needs.

The lights arenít going off any time soon.
Posted by Rhian, Friday, 11 May 2012 3:15:39 PM
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I would prefer we spent all our available exploration funds finding and deploying endlessly available alternatives; that would finally free us from the ironclad economy destroying grip of the super rich fossil fuel industry.
As long as we humans produce biological waste, we will be able to produce locally produced biogas in sufficient quantities to completely power our high rise apartment blocks and or suburbs! Moreover, for around a third of what we currently shell out for coal-fired power.
Large scale algae very low water use farming, would save both the Murray/Darling and all who depend on it. Algae can be produced in closed cycle systems for just one or two percent of the water requirements of other irrigated crops! Large clear plastic pipes, or clear plastic covered storage tanks/dams.
A million tons of algae can become two million tons tomorrow and four million tons the day after; or, 2.4 millions tons of easily extracted bio-diesel! Multiply that by a thousand or so moderately sized farms/enterprises to understand what some very modest investment options could conceivably produce; and, for generations to come!
Some algae are up to 60% oil, which is virtual child's play to extract, as a virtually ready to use bio-diesel.
Algae absorb around 2.5 times their bodyweight in Co2 and under optimal conditions, double that body weight every 24 hours.
Very large scale solar thermal power plants could double as hydrogen producers, utilising water molecule cracking, which would reduce hydrogen production to well below current NG costs, and furthermore, forever, or as long as the planet supports human populations!
Were we to get ahead of the production curve in any of these areas, we would be very well placed and very prosperous, when others finally followed our pragmatic planet protecting lead! Rhrosty.
Posted by Rhrosty, Friday, 11 May 2012 3:58:03 PM
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