Sunday, August 03, 2008

Got shale?

Alternative title: Taking the edge off peak oil.

Oil is unlikely to go back to $30, even with this potential boom in shale gas production in the US, but it's looking like we actually have something workable here, mid-term.

The peak oil doomsters are really not going to be happy about this development.

The answer, as always, was somewhere in the middle.

CNBC: Nat Gas Plays.

Star Telegram: Natural gas stocks take big drops since July 1.


XTO Chairman Bob Simpson told the paper that the shale-gas fields popping up across the country are proving to be "discoveries the size of which you haven’t seen for 50 years in our business."

He called the Barnett Shale "one of the greatest gas fields ever found" and suggested that the huge natural gas finds could boost demand because they suggest that there will be ample supply.

The actual reserves from the nation’s shale-gas fields are mostly speculative because the formations are relatively new and haven’t been fully explored.

The Barnett, discovered in 1981, is relatively mature, but others, like Louisiana’s Haynesville Shale and Appalachia’s Marcellus, are sparsely drilled.

That didn’t stop Friedman, Billings Ramsey analyst Rehan Rashid from working up his own estimates of the fields’ reserves, which he presented Wednesday in Houston. Rashid told Oil and Gas Investor magazine that he figures that the Barnett Shale holds 55 trillion cubic feet of recoverable gas.

But he pegs the Haynesville at more than twice that, or 120 trillion cubic feet, and the Marcellus at 68 trillion. Arkansas’ Fayetteville Shale follows the Barnett at 25 trillion, and Oklahoma’s Woodford Shale weighs in at 14 trillion.

He said he expects those fields to greatly boost the values of the companies that have staked holdings there.

CNBC: Peak Oil Theory.

CNBC: Drilling for Profit.

CNBC: Peak Performance?

Pickens Plan.