Is This The Golden Age of Natural Gas?

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While most of the U.S Oil Industry has focused on adjusting production capabilities to meet the spike in shale crude supply, others are looking toward a more promising future in the revolution’s other energy source. New drilling technology has helped along the popularity of natural gas for several years. But perhaps nothing has signaled the gas revolution quite so strongly as the fact that Shell recently announced that this will be the first year in its century-long history that more than half its production will come from natural gas, instead of oil.

The Sunday Times of London recently covered Shell CEO Peter Voser’s visions for natural gas:

“Voser sees a future where gas could displace dirtier and costlier oil-based fuels in everything from school buses and lorries to cargo ships. He is not the only one. In 2009 Exxon Mobil paid $41bn (£26bn) to buy XTO, one of America’s biggest shale gas producers. In 2011, Shell finished the Pearl plant in Qatar, the company’s single largest investment. The $19bn project, a square mile of pipes and reactors, converts gas from the world’s largest reservoir into diesel, jet fuel and other products such as shampoo ingredients.”

Natural gas has evoked significant interest in the energy industry, with its relatively cheap cost of production and clean-burning qualities attracting producers. The discovery of over 250 years of reserves, estimated at current consumption, may lend to more energy players to start investing in the potentially profitable resource.

About the Author

Stephen Smith is executive director of energy products at CME Group.