O&G Producers Studying Europe's Shale Gas Potential

While Poland has taken center stage in European shale gas exploration, oil and gas producers also are exploring for potential shale gas reserves in other European countries.

"Unconventional gas volumes in Europe have the potential to stabilize domestic supplies in the face of declining conventional production, and in doing so could reduce dependencies and help diversify the energy mix," said Maximilian Kuhn and Frank Umbach, authors of a study from the European Centre for Energy and Resource Security (EUCERS).

In the report, Strategic Perspectives of Unconventional Gas: A Game Changer with Implication for the EU's Energy Security, the authors noted that European shale gas could help break Europe's dependence on gas imports from Russia and the Middle East.

Besides Poland, which is estimated to have 187 Tcf of recoverable shale gas resources, and France, where a ban on hydraulic fracturing has resulted in some shale exploration permits being cancelled, concessions for shale gas test drilling have been granted in the Netherlands, Germany, UK, Sweden, Hungary, Switzerland, and Ukraine, according to a U.S. Energy information Administration (EIA) report on global shale gas resources released in April.

Producers also are exploring for shale gas in other European countries. In Spain, Realm Energy International Corporation will explore for shale gas in the two six-year permits the company was awarded earlier this year. The permits cover 212,099 acres in the Cantabrian Basin of Northern Spain.

Realm believes the shales in all concessions are thermally mature and may be prospective for natural gas production. Initial analysis of existing well logs indicates that primary targets are likely to be Eocene, Cretaceous and Carboniferous shales at depths ranging from 6,000-11,000 feet.

According to media reports, Basque Regional Premier Patxi Lopez said last week that 13 unconventional gas holdings of 180 Bcm have been found in the Gran Enara field, located in the Alva province in Basque Country.

Chevron reported earlier this year that it is exploring Eastern Europe's shale gas potential in Romania and Bulgaria. In Romania, the company began a seismic acquisition program in August and, over the next year, will continue to progress technical work as it evaluates this opportunity. In Bulgaria, the company plans to begin seismic acquisition next year.

LNG Energy is also exploring for shale gas in northwestern Bulgaria. The company in late August reported it had entered an agreement to drill and test an exploratory well targeting the Middle Jurassic Etropole Shale.

The Czech Republic's Environment Ministry said in August it planned to commission a survey to determine shale gas levels, and British companies Cuadrilla and Basgas have submitted applications to start researching supplies in the coming months, according to a report by the Prague Post.

Swedish gas exploration company Gripen Gas AB will explore for unconventional shale gas in the organic rich Alum shale formation on five exploration licenses totaling 186 square kilometers on Oland in Kalmar County, southern Sweden. The company was awarded the five licenses in July.

Gripen is planning to start some shale drilling activities soon, according to a spokesperson with the Mining Inspectorate of Sweden. Gripen and a second company, Energigas i Östergötland AB, have exploration permits for shale exploration in Sweden at this time.

Gripen Chairman Torgny Berglund said the company's preliminary studies show that the Alum Shale could yield sufficient gas to generate power with the added upside of stratigraphically trapped hydrocarbons in the Cambrian sandstones. "The numerous shows indicate an active petroleum system with both conventional and unconventional trapping mechanisms."

Moreover, some of the most promising European shale's are offshore in the North Sea, and offshore production of shale gas has not been tried yet, which is more likely an issue of economics than of technology, according to the EUCERS report.

Fonte: Rigzone

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