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ConocoPhillips CEO on shale boom: We've only scratched the surface

Technology innovation has expanded the world’s energy resource base and the oil and gas industry will continue to working to supply that growth, said ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP) chairman and CEO Ryan Lance.

Ryan Lance, ConocoPhillips chairman and CEO

©2014 Michael Stravato. Provided courtesy of the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy, Rice University.


Current production levels provide a roughly 235 year supply of gas, but that number is probably still underestimated as, for one, Middle East resources have yet to be predicted. Global shale gas resources are currently estimated at 7,795 tcf of technically recoverable shale gas resources, Lance noted in his keynote speech at “The Geopolitics of Natural Gas” conference held at Rice University on Feb.21 in Houston.

The discovery of unconventional resources has been a game changer for the industry, yet the world’s energy needs continue to grow at a rapid pace. Increases in global demand are expected to grow 50% by 2030 and, according to a recent study by the International Energy Agency, “the center of gravity of energy demand” is coming from China, India, and the Middle East, “which drive global energy use one-third higher.”

New supplies are needed, but, as Lance sees it, the shale revolution is “only in the first inning of a nine inning game” and we’ve only “scratched the surface” to see how the technology will continue to unfold.

“As technology improves,” he noted, the industry will learn to deplete resources even more. When asked about the number of years it will take to deplete shale gas resources, Lance noted that the current state of the unconventional boom is just one layer and that it will last for quite some time.

“The rumor that this will be around only 15 years or so is unfounded.”

 

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