Shale Gas - The Next Petrochemical Feedstock?

photo : Energy Tribune

Is shale gas set to become the next major feedstock for the Chemical Industry? Shale gas, oftern referred to as an 'unconvetional' source of natural gas, has become an increasingly more important source of natural gas in the United States over the past decade, and interest has spread to potential gas shales in Canada and Europe.

Some projections suggest that shale gas could supply as much as half the natural gas requirement in North America by 2020 as well as providing a significant proportion of Europe's gas supply.

Recent improvements in extraction techniques have attracted the major players into the arena, with companies such as Shell, ExxonMobil, Statoil and BG Group becoming increasingly involved.

Shale gas currently costs more to produce than gas from conventional sources, due of the expense of extraction process but this is expected to eveolve quickly as more major players become involved.

Given current overcapacity and new investment in plants in the Middle East and Asia, shale gas will not revolutionise petrochemicals manufacture but it is very likely to play some part in shaping it.

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