Shale natural gas production – additional information
Shale gas resources can contain large accumulations of natural gas and/or oil. Production of natural gas from Texas’s Barnett Shale began around a decade ago and has acted as a model for natural gas production technologies in other parts of the country. It was one of the first cases of large-scale natural gas production from shale resources under the Mitchell Energy and Development Corporation. As of 2016, Pennsylvania was the largest producer of shale gas in the United States, where production volume totaled 5,049 billion cubic feet. Overall, more than 30 states are sitting on top of shale formations.
The production of shale gas has increased dramatically under the development of hydraulic fracturing (fracking) and horizontal drilling: U.S. shale gas production has increased from 260 billion cubic feet in 1999 to approximately 14 trillion cubic feet in 2016. It is predicted that production volumes will reach 32.7 trillion cubic feet by 2050. It is estimated that the United States has 610 trillion cubic feet of recoverable shale natural gas resources.
Natural gas has been touted by some as an efficient energy source that can act as a transition that bridges the emission-intensive consumption of fossil fuels to a period where renewable energies become sufficiently cost-efficient. However, the discovery of various serious environmental impacts, such as water contamination, has led many to be skeptical of fracking. As of 2015, 40 percent opposed this method of production.