Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Europeans Investigate Shale Technology

I am a believer that the Haynesville Shale represents a "tipping point" for natural gas in today's world. It shows that through the application of new technology we can access vast resources that were previously unavailable. I don't think the Haynesville Play is the last great shale discovery - in fact it might be the beginning of many more.

I spent a rainy Memorial Day morning reflecting on the impact of new shale drilling technology and expertise on the world. Remember several months ago when a dispute between the Russians and Ukrainians left many Europeans without gas for a couple of cold January weeks? Potentially hostile foreign providers hold more than just the U.S. as energy hostages. What if Europe could become more energy independent by tapping the shales that might be below that continent? Shale covers the earth in various locations, so its not just the U.S. that could see a big shale gas bonanza.

The joint venture deals that Chesapeake struck with England's BP in the Fayetteville Shale and Norway's StatoilHydro in the Marcellus Shale make a lot of sense for the partners when viewed through the lens of exporting similar technology to Europe. Also, French company Total is a partner in an oil shale joint venture in Colorado. I came across an interesting article from a few months ago that discusses the concept of exporting our technology to the world. Europeans are way behind us in terms of having the technology and expertise to exploit shale resources and just like a big tech company in Silicon Valley, they seem willing to purchase it.

Wouldn't it be funny to see a big drilling rush in continental Europe? The great colonial powers of the past 500 years would be exploiting resources in their own backyards rather than ravaging other countries.

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