Tapping into the Full Potential of Shale Gas

During the last ten years, the world has witnessed an exponential growth in the supply of natural gas from Shales. Today, shale gas accounts for approximately one-third of the total production in the United States. It is anticipated that within 20 years, the supply of Shale gas will account for more than 50 percent of domestic production. There is no doubt that shale presents a valuable source for natural gas liquids and natural gas. While the potential of Shales is undeniable, some fields result in the production of gas contaminated with hydrogen sulfide and carbon dioxide.

Such contamination levels require unique treating strategies. H2S and CO2 levels can vary significantly from one play to another. In some instances, those levels can vary among different wells located within the same play. Furthermore, while the focus of some plays may be on recovering a specific type of hydrocarbon, such as NGL, residual hydrocarbons can still present a significant energy source. When this is the case, effective carbon dioxide removal and H2S removal strategies are necessary to treat shale gas in order to achieve pipeline specifications. The latest techniques make it possible to recover marketable hydrocarbons to the greatest degree.

Shale Exploration Continues Expanding

According to recent reports, plans are underway to develop shale gas in Argentina. This news immediately follows word that seven test wells will be drilled in upcoming months in Saudi Arabia for shale gas. Of course, the idea of exploring shale gas is nothing new in the United States. The state of Texas has already witnessed rapid expansion of shale gas exploration, particularly in the Eagle Ford Shale field. As the demand for gas continues to increase around the world, the need to uncover unconventional gas is expanding.

In order to keep up with a rapidly evolving petrochemical industry, it has become necessary to find new and more innovative ways to achieve CO2 removal from natural gas streams. Although shale gas certainly presents an opportunity to explore streams that were previously deemed unmarketable and even unusable, the pressure remains high to find cost-effective methods for oxygen removal for gas. By working with a company experienced in proven techniques and knowledgeable regarding innovative amine plant approaches, it is possible to take full advantage of new opportunities.

New Shale Play Emerges in Cline

As difficult as it may be to believe, it has only been four years since the first successful well in the Eagle Ford shale was announced. The field is now ranked as one of the top three oilfields in the United States, along with the Bakken field in North Dakota and the Permian Basin in West Texas. It actually took almost twenty years to develop the Barnett Shale just out of Forth Worth into a commercial success, making Eagle Shale just short of phenomenal. While the Eagle Ford field is still barely a toddler, experts have recently predicted it will have a life expectancy of about 16 years. That lifespan could extend even further with new developments in drilling technology. In the beginning, the field was deemed to be a somewhat complicated location for extraction due to wet gas, black oil phases, and, volatile oil. Still, technological innovations in a number of industries, including amine gas treating , have now made it possible to extract oil and natural gas in locations that were previously deemed impossible. So much so, that industry experts are already viewing other potential locations.

Recent research and exploration in the Cline Shale near Snyder has led to speculation that this could be the location of the next oil boom in Texas. Much like the Eagle Ford shale field, the Cline Shale is considered by many to be one of the hottest new opportunities in the country. Fracturing, or fracking, the ability to drill horizontally into shale and other types of rock in order to extract oil is just one factor driving the frenzy over Cline. As advances in carbon dioxide removal and other supporting industries continue to emerge, Cline likely will not be the last potentially prolific shale play to emerge in the state.

Shale Boom Lends to Growth in Other Industries

A number of industries are benefiting from the shale boom in Texas. Among them are the rail yards. Throughout South Texas, track is being added by rail yards to service the ever-expanding shale drilling boom that is taking place throughout a 20-county section of the state that extends all the way through East Texas. The increase in the number of rail cars making their way through the state has been significant. Much of that growth can be attributed to the transportation of fracturing sand. In Hondo alone, upwards of 50 rail cars loaded with sand move through the local railway.

The railway growth is actually just a segment of a massive growth of infrastructure that is taking place throughout this section of the state to accommodate the needs of the rising shale boom. That infrastructure includes roads and pipelines associated with hydraulic fracturing operations throughout South Texas. While many of the pipelines that will ultimately handle the natural gas and oil have not actually been constructed yet, the need for such infrastructure and supporting industries, include amine gas treating solutions for gas processing companies is definitely present.