Tuesday, 20 August 2013
Issue 11: Shale gas will be significantly delayed due to lack of equipment and expertise
Yes. There are very few rigs available and many more personnel would need to be trained. This will take years, and gives us the chance for mature reflection with clear, scientific data.
There is a set of extremely useful on-line tools for seeing on a monthly basis how many drilling rigs there are in the USA and around the globe from Baker Hughes, who have been keeping the tally for over 70 years. They are extremely accurate, and used by investors to judge how active the industry is.
At the end of July 2013 (last week) there were 1776 rigs active in the USA, of which 369 were drilling for gas as shown in the map below (oil in blue, gas in red and geothermal in green).
The red dots near the Texas coast (top map) represent drilling for shale gas in the Barnett shale, whereas those top right are the Utica and Marcellus gas shales, which are shown in more detail in the bottom map.
In the UK there was one, and we know where that is - Balcombe!
That is fewer than most European countries whether they have a shale gas moratorium or not.
There were 6 drilling for gas in Poland, where there are known shale gas resources, and other resources, notably in Argentina, where 21 of its 85 rigs are drilling for gas.
The effort, amounts of money and of time required to build and staff sufficient rigs for significant exploration on the UK mainland will be very large. A reasonable campaign of exploration will take at least 5 years to put together.
When the other European countries ‘wake-up’ to shale gas there will be a huge competition for rigs and trained personnel to man them, as well as scientists and technicians capable of analysing their data.