23:18 GMT29 September 2020
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    The US shale gas production will peak in 2020 and then decline rapidly, according to a new study released by the University of Texas. Even more, the US is at risk of losing its multi-billion dollar investments into gas-based infrastructure.

    MOSCOW, December 8 (Sputnik), Ekaterina Blinova – US shale gas production may soon be facing an unexpected decline, with billions of dollars possibly wasted on gas-based vehicles and infrastructure.

    "US government estimates of the amount of natural gas that can be extracted by fracking may be far too optimistic, according to a new study by the University of Texas (UT) at Austin," OilPrice.com reported.

    The media source refers to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) report, released in 2013, which stated that American shale wells will be highly productive for more than 30 years: "For natural gas, the EIA has no doubt at all that production can continue to grow all the way out to 2040." Furthermore, US President Obama asserted in 2012 that "we [US] have a supply of natural gas that can last America nearly 100 years."

    However, the new study carried out by the UT researchers has proved the opposite. Nature, a scientific journal, cites Tad Patzek, Chairman of the University of Texas at Austin's Department of Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering, as saying that the results of the scrupulous analysis are "bad news," and that "we're [US] setting ourselves up for a major fiasco."

    The Texas team predicts that shale gas production will peak in 2020 and then rapidly decline. The researchers have carried out careful analysis of shale gas production at four leading US formations, which provide almost two-thirds of US shale gas supplies. They calculated that the formations have "relatively small 'sweet spots' where it will be profitable to extract gas," Nature reports.

    However, the major problem for the US is not just the depletion of its natural gas resources but losing its multi-billion dollar investments made into gas-based infrastructure. US companies are still relying on cheap and plentiful natural gas.

    "Over the next 20 years, US industry and electricity producers are expected to invest hundreds of billions of dollars in new plants that rely on natural gas. And billions more dollars are pouring into the construction of export facilities that will enable the United States to ship liquefied natural gas to Europe, Asia and South America," Nature underscores.

    Reduction in the US natural gas production may ruin the nation's plan of exporting large amounts of gas overseas. That can obviously affect global enthusiasm regarding fracking, making states reconsider their plans of extracting shale gas.

    "If it begins to look as if it's going to end in tears in the United States, that would certainly have an impact on the enthusiasm in different parts of the world," notes Paul Stevens, an economist at Chatham House, a UK's think tank.

    Both US President Obama and UK Prime Minister David Cameron are major proponents of fracking technology.

    The media outlet admits that optimism about shale gas still "reigns" in the United States and which is triggering serious concern among energy experts.

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    Tags:
    shale gas, fracking, United States
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