"Several recent studies concluded that domestic price increases from exports would be small. This conclusion, however, is based on unrealistic assumptions about the size of U.S. gas supplies and the true cost of producing shale gas. In fact, supplies are likely substantially smaller than predicted, while costs are higher ... The lesson: gas supply estimates are much more uncertain than experts and conventional wisdom assumes ... We do not dispute that the shale gas resource is large; we question the near- to medium-term supply, the amount of shale gas that is available on demand. The number of gas-directed drilling rigs has plummeted in the past year because of low price and we fear that demand may exceed supply unless this trend is reversed. All oil and gas wells display production decline rates over time. The decline rate is simply the change in flow over time. Shale gas wells have especially high decline rates, meaning U.S. supplies are likely shorter-lived than many are predicting. For example, conventional gas wells decline at annual rates of about 20% per year but the production from shale gas wells declines at rates of at least 33% per year and often higher ... Production from shale is a new phenomenon and prediction about future well performance is speculative. Recent studies, however, by the U.S. Geological Survey, the University of Texas, Louisiana State University and other industry groups show that commercially recoverable per-well shale gas reserves may be considerably smaller than some believe ... Approving long-term export contracts before confirming the true size of U.S. natural gas supplies would be reckless. Policymakers should take the time to get it right, so the rest of the country does not pay the price for another cycle of bad guesses about the natural gas market."

Zum Artikel von Art Berman, erschienen auf The Oil Drum (15. Februar 2013) »