U.S. shale gas production - additional information
The production of shale gas in the United States has increased dramatically since 2000 from about 300 billion cubic feet to 13.64 trillion cubic feet in 2015, and is expected to reach about 29 trillion cubic feet in 2040. Shale gas is a natural gas found within shale formations, a type of fine-grained sedimentary rock. High oil and gas prices, as well as recent developments in oil and gas extraction - like horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing (fracking) - have made shale gas economically viable to produce. WTI crude oil prices is now just below 50 U.S. dollars and its price fluctuations may heavily impact the fracking boom. It is expected that shale gas production will be concentrated primarily in regions such as Northeastern United States and the Gulf Coast, reaching some 5 trillion cubic feet and 4.4 trillion cubic feet, respectively, of production in 2035. Direct income from shale gas production-related labor is also expected to increase in the next few decades, reaching 41.9 billion U.S. dollars by 2035.
The vast presence of U.S. shale gas production will allow for continued domestic use of natural gas. As of 2011, the Huron Shale, located in Kentucky, West Virginia, and Virginia cost approximately 1.7 million U.S. dollars, comparatively, Mexico’s Mexico Shale cost about 15.1 million U.S. dollars. However, the process of fracking has become a widely debated issue due to its environmental impacts, most notably, its water usage and its impact on aquatic ecosystems. In the United Kingdom, almost half of the citizens believed that using fracking to extract shale gas would eventually have a positive effect on the nation’s economy.