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Unconventional Gas Riles and Refigures the World Energy Market: North America (Part I)

By Donald Hertzmark -- February 16, 2011

[Editor note: Part II tomorrow will summarize unconventional gas developments in Europe and Asia.]

In 2003 and again in 2005, Alan Greenspan, Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, called on America’s governors and natural gas users to embrace vastly larger imports of methane energy. In his words: “North America’s limited capacity to import liquefied natural gas (LNG) has effectively restricted our access to the world’s abundant gas supplies.”

As he was speaking, a revolution was brewing under his feet. New methods of producing gas from unconventional resources–tight gas, coalbed methane (cbm) and shale gas–had greatly expanded the universe of gas resources available throughout the world.

By the end of that decade, the U.S., Australia and Canada would be able to book unconventional reserve additions in excess of annual production from all gas sources.…