Sunday, July 7, 2013

The shale gas revolution: is it already over?

link to data

The production of natural gas in the US has not been increasing for about two years. Fitted with a Gaussian function, it shows a peak in the second half of 2012 and, from then on, a tendency to decline. Decoupled in its various components, the data show that shale gas production is still increasing, but not fast enough to compensate for the decline of conventional gas production.

Are we already seeing the end of the "shale gas revolution"? It is too early to say, and it may well be that this is a blip and that the growth of gas production will restart increasing. But, eventually, the whole story is a short-lived financial bubble. (see, e.g., a recent series of statements by Arthur Berman)

Note added in Feb 2024. It was, indeed, a blip. Production restarted to grow and is still growing in 2024. It will probably keep growing for a few years more, unless some external event (a war or a strong economic crisis) will disrupt the capability of the industrial system to continue investing in shale gas extraction


Ugo Bardi is a member of the Club of Rome, faculty member of the University of Florence, and the author of "Extracted" (Chelsea Green 2014), "The Seneca Effect" (Springer 2017), and Before the Collapse (Springer 2019)