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October 9, 2015

Shale Revolution Will Go Global, Analyst Says

British Prime Minister David Cameron Total Oil Depot Visit

British Prime Minister David Cameron visits the Total Oil Depot shale drilling site in Gainsborough, Lincolnshire, on Jan. 13.

A new era of global oil and gas production will emerge as other countries adopt the technology that has led to a shale boom in the United States, according to an industry researcher.

“This is not just a U.S. play,” said Jamie Webster, a director at research firm IHS, speaking at an Energy Information Administration conference Monday. “In the future you are going to see tight oil production become more global.”

While a number of factors allowed the United States to lead the hydro-fracturing revolution, other nations will catch on, working through barriers such as the lack of mineral property rights in some countries, he said.

The global rate of shale oil production is expected to increase to about 8 million barrels per day around 2032, about seven years after a peak in the United States, and then taper through 2040, according to recent analysis from his group.

While conventional oil will continue to prove the majority of global supply in coming years, the ability of shale producers to readily respond to price increases will be pronounced, offering the type of market valve that the Organization of Petroleum Producing Counties has controlled for decades, Webster said.

“This actually has the potential to dramatically change how the market is balanced going forward,” he said.

The result could lessen OPEC control or could lead to greater market volatility, depending on how OPEC responds, he said, adding that global tight oil development will also bring global security implications, export balance changes and new electric production potential.

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