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America Shale Gas Revolution: when ‘unconventionality’ changes to ‘conventionality’
Click:1491 Release time:2013-09-06

  The 'Shale Gas Revolution'of America not only changes the oil and gas supply and need structure of North America, influences the global energy layout and the geopolitics, but also lets the world see the huge charm of shale gas. At present, the new round of unconventional gas development boom, represented by shale gas, has spread from America to across the globe.

  In fact, the unconventional natural gas, distinguished from one main characteristics of the conventional natural gas, is the complex geological conditions in which it is found, the difficulty of use and exploitation is great and there is certain difficulty in the promotion of the industrialization. This does not mean that the future foreground of the unconventional natural gas is not uniformly bleak, however. We can see that, along with the progress of relevant exploration technology and change of the economic environment, the exploitation of the unconventional natural gas has achieved important progress in partial countries. Particularly for America, the annual yield of coal bed gas of America is kept at 55 billion cubic meters currently, and the compact gas annual yield is up to 180 billion cubic meters. After multi-year accumulation and development, the exploitation of the shale gas raised the "shale gas revolution"in the energy history. It is predicted by the annual energy outlook report of America (11) that the shale gas yield of America will reach to 50% of the whole natural gas yield by 2035; and at that moment, the yield of the unconventional natural gas will go beyond the yield of the conventional natural gas comprehensively.

  By arranging the development history of the unconventional natural gas of America, it can be seen that its success is not accomplished in an action. Take shale gas as an example: America was the first to explore and develop shale gas more than 200 years ago, but most shale gas exists in the stone layers at more than 1,500 meters in depth, the technical difficulty is great, and the exploitation cost is high, so that the development of shale gas in the early stages is very difficult. Michelle ·George, the "father of shale gas, was convinced not to waste money, and stated "it is impossible for you to squeeze oil in stones, as the shale is essentially mineral mud, so it is impossible to extrude petroleum or natural gas from them.'Michelle, however has not stopped, but made continuous efforts for many years and finally hydrofracture technology was born, which makes the large-scale exploitation of the shale gas possible.

  The successful practice of America in unconventional natural gas exploration and development such as the coal bed gas and the shale gas indicates that although difficulties surely exists in the exploitation, and a series of challenges will be met, 'unconventionality"may be changed to 'conventionality"in the near future through emphasized attention to the strategy,the institutional mechanism reform and the in-time upgrading, the powerful and in-position industrialization promotion measures, and the continuous improvement of the technology. Once such huge potential resources are utilized on a larger scale, a very great benefit will be enjoyed. Just as one natural gas expert said, once finding the gold key for opening the large-scale development of the unconventional natural gas, humans will find the optimal alternative energy sources for realizing the sustainable development and walk out of 'traditional fossil energy age'. (From: Economic Daily)