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U.S. shale gas and tight oil plays production 1999-2050

This statistic shows U.S. shale gas production between 1999 and 2017, with projections until 2050. In 2050, the United States is expected to produce around 35.24 trillion cubic feet of shale gas. According to the source, shale gas refers to natural gas that is trapped within shale formations.

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 16.54 trillion cubic feet in 2016, and is expected to reach about 33.4 trillion cubic feet in 2050. 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 about 59.9 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 five 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. 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.

Shale gas and tight oil plays production in the U.S. from 1999 to 2050

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Release date

January 2020


United States

Survey time period

1999 to 2018

Supplementary notes

* Projections.

Figures were compiled from several editions of the report.

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Statistics on "Natural gas energy in the U.S."

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