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Thursday, 5 December 2013

Where is the Shale Gas and Coal Bed Methane?

People often ask me where the shale gas and coal bed methane (CBM) can be found.  The answer, for once, is relatively straightforward in Europe anyway. Three hundred years of geological studies means that we know where the major shale and coal formations are. While not all of these formations will produce exploitable shale gas or CBM, we can say which regions will not produce them.

The map below is sourced from the IEA (IEA (2012) Golden Rules for a Golden Age of Gas). Most of Europe's potential is under the Baltic states, Poland, Hungary and Rumania, but there is another resource in northern Europe too.
In the UK, potential resources exist in northern England, southern England and in Scotland. Let's put that in the perspective of the top countries with recoverable gas resources (as of end 2011) again according to the IEA (IEA (2012) Golden Rules for a Golden Age of Gas). Only Norway makes it into this list, and then only because of the conventional resources. For the rest of Europe shale gas and CBM are significant but not world class. By contrast shale gas will be a major driver of growth for the USA, China, Australia, Argentina, Mexico and Canada, if they want it.

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