Nice survey of world gas reserves

h/t Mk50, a nice table listing reserves of natural gas and shale gas around the world. Australia is outstanding on a population basis. Poland the winner in Europe although their numbers are nowhere near Australia. Many African and South American nations are short. They will have to depend on nuclear in the medium to long term.

Matt Ridley and JC among others have been flagging how this changes the geopolitical ball game and also trumps the Greenies lament about running out of fossil fuels. Heaps of time to get clean green nuclear up and running!

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22 Responses to Nice survey of world gas reserves

  1. Many African and South American nations are short. They will have to depend on nuclear in the medium to long term.

    Why does the conjunction of the terms “Nuclear power” and “African nations” worry me so much? Could it be a track record of corruption, instability and kleptocracy coupled to what that might mean for safety standards? Not to mention the security of nuclear material – obviously nobody in their right mind is going to build e.g. Zimbabwe a fast-breeder that might turn out weapons-grade plutonium, but a nice little dirty bomb (uranium or plutonium dust around an explosive spreader charge) bursting in Hyde Park or Times Square might not be too far from some terrorists’ minds.

  2. Antipodean

    It’s an interesting report, one I am quite familiar with. The resources identified are for countries with reasonable geophysical data for shale. Russia and much of Africa *could* have vast, unidentified, shale resources.

    In the Australian context, a number of sedimentary basins with either known or likely shale oil and shale gas plays, did not make the report. The Georgina, Beetaloo, and onshore Bonaparte Basins in the NT alone could double the Australian shale gas resource in the report. The Beetaloo basin recently had an exploration work program commitment by ConocoPhillips in excess of $100 million.

  3. TerjeP

    So what does this mean for the wholesale price of electricity? Does it merely steady the ship or are we going to see a noticeable price drop?

  4. Don

    South Africa has the immensely prospective Karoo Basin shales – currently on hold as the greenies deal with their fraccing paranoia.

    SA needs the gas – they are not in the position of the French who have the nuke infrastructure in place and can afford to appease the ignorant mob in banning what will be seen to be one of the most important technological advances of the last fifty years.

  5. Mk50 of Brisbane

    Hi Antipodean!

    The CSG lads in the Bowen-Surat-Gunnedah and points west have also been getting excited. Talking to the Gladstone planners – ALL of the players are talking four trains on their sites. Thats 24 trains, and they seem awfully firm about marketing.

    Mind you, they always do….


  6. The geopolitical ball game change is a reality in the US, which is about to become a net gas exporter. No more reliance on oil from the ME and Venezuela.

    Australia could do the same if it overcame this anti-CSG paranoia. CSG is the same stuff, except not quite so deep.

    I read recently that propane gel has promise as a fracking tool, replacing the water/sand/chemical mix. It’s essentially the same stuff they’re extracting, so not a pollutant. If it comes through, the revolution will really take off.

  7. wes george

    I wish I had a quid for all the idiots over the decades who have loudly proclaimed “Peak Hydrocarbons!” and the end of the world as we know it. I’d be rich.

  8. Boris

    I am not an expert but I think these are huge forward estimates. The geological conditions in the coninental US are very favorable for shale gas production and maybe oil shale but this is not certain for such huge estimates in South Africa or China. I have one of my recent PhD graduates working on this in Poland (for one of the oil majors) and he is saying this is very early days from the geological point of view.

  9. Boris

    No more reliance on oil from the ME and Venezuela.

    Bollocks. Gas is not oil.

  10. Mk50 of Brisbane


    Sorry, wrong. The capital for the plant needed to convert natural gas to synthetic oil is actually less that the highly specialised cracking plants needed to convert heavy crude into lighter fractions.

    The vast bulk of venezuelan crude is ‘road oil’, heavy crude. The stuff is like a light bitumen.

    It was the original gunk used to make macadamised roads. You graded it and sprayed it with Venezuelan crude oil. Then you added a layer of gravel, sprayed that, rolled it, more gravel, sprayed that, rolled it, and so on.

    Not only that, check out the Bakken Shale. it produces both oil and gas.

    As I have said here several times, we are just at the very beginning of the hydrocarbon fuels age. It is going to last for millennia. I’ve seen wild guesses that (including clathrates) there could be between 4000 and 40000 YEARS of energy reserves out there assuming current energy consumption per capita rates keep expanding at the current rates.

    What an inconvenient truth for greenies, eh?

    Especially as increasing CO2 concentration in the atmosphere does not cause ‘glowball warmenatingisiferication’ like those muppets keep yowling about..


  11. Perturbed
    “nice little dirty bomb” do you mean like the more than 300 tonnes of depleted uranium used in the first gulf war? To be fair if you do not breath it in you will probably be ok.

    Sorry electricity price will continue to rise as it is only about 3.5c per kw/hr at the moment but how much do you pay after MRET(mandatory renewable energy target) , network charges etc. is met?

    Gas is oil if you are talking about passenger transport and can entirely replace oil for trucks etc. if you do not mind losing cargo capacity. Petrochemical industry it is preferable to use oil but again is possible to turn gas to liquid anyway but would be more expensive. Some plant such as earthmoving would normally require oil.

  12. JC

    Bollocks. Gas is not oil.

    true, but think of it as simply a conversion factor in terms of BTU.

    The equivalent barrel of oil in BTU gas terms is around 15 bucks to $102 for oil.

    The arbitrage is enormous and all it will take the transformation is a few decent engines.

    It will get there over the next 20 years.

    Oil will eventually trade to a btu equivalent for gas.

  13. JC
    Oil will always on average be more expensive than gas as it is easier to transport and use for petrochemical industry. There are all the engines available now it is called a petrol engine. For heavy transport they normally use a modified diesel.

  14. Karl Kessel

    Surely as the price makes it more worthwhile LPG will start being used more.

    The buses in many Australian cities already do this.

    Shale gas is really quite something. It’s a huge change for energy production. Gas was meant to be the first energy source to deplete and now there are large reserves and more will probably be found.

  15. Boris

    Everyone has addressed my comment gas vs oil but no one said anything about geology. I still do not understand if the shale gas in places like Poland, China or South Africa can really be produced.

    In the US this is driven in large part by the fact that the gas is overpressured due to favorable tectonic regime. Thus when you frac it, it flows. There have been many attempts to produce gas in similar fashion, say, in Perth basin, but it has never worked (commercially).

    I hope to learn more about this soon.

  16. Mk50 of Brisbane

    Don’t we all, Boris, don’t we all. it’s fascinating.


  17. wes george


  18. JC


    If there’s an issue and the reserves are large the technology will be found to get at them.

  19. Antipodean

    Boris, shale gas not failed in the Perth Basin, it will be fracced and flow tested in two wells next year. The geology in many of the Australian basins for shale are analogous for many of he US plays and in some instances are superior.

    What has slowed progress is the very low number of drilling rigs capable of drilling these wells in Australia as many if these shales are between 2,500 to 4,000 metres deep and are therefore expensive to drill (approx $25 million or more) and technically risky. By comparison, CSG wells are usually 300 to 700 metres deep and cost several hundred thousand dollars.

    The thermogenic maturity of shales is a primary indicator or resource type. It’s not all about gas, there is significant potential for shale oil and wet shale gas (gas high in LPG’s and light crude).

  20. Gowest

    Fundamental law of mining and petroleum – as the price goes higher the reserves get bigger.
    We should be thanking the greens for scaring the world into paying higher prices for everything – energy problems solved!

  21. Myrrdin Seren

    Related – and in the category of ‘Man bites dog’ news:

    FORMER Media Watch host Stuart Littlemore QC is of the opinion that an ABC website examining the coal-seam gas industry is factually wrong, in breach of the ABC code of conduct and written by journalists who appear biased against CSG.

  22. Myrddin Seren

    And just to round out the gas reserves thread with more Man Bites Dog news:

    Chevron sues environmental consultants and scientific staff under RICO laws – read the rest.

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