Gas from shale

Energy demand is rising worldwide. The World Energy Outlook 2013 predicts that global energy demand will increase by one-third by 2035. Emerging and developing economies will drive this growth.

With responsible operators and sound regulation, gas from shale can help meet this demand. As a clean and flexible fuel, gas from shale has the potential to be one of the more affordable energy sources to consumers around the globe.

What is gas from shale?

Shale.jpgGas from shale – extracted from sedimentary rock of organically rich mud and clay – is the same as any other natural gas.  Among hydrocarbons, natural gas is the most affordable, cleanest burning and most useful fuel. It is also abundant.  According to International Energy Agency figures, recoverable resources of natural gas from shale (along with coal bed methane and tight gas worldwide), almost double recoverable gas resources at current technology and prices.

Although geologists have known about gas from shale for decades, development was for many years uneconomic.  In the late 1990s, however, a combination of two proven technologies – horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing – made gas from shale commercially viable.  In the US, gas from shale has already transformed the nation’s energy market and is expected to meet almost half of gas demand by 2030.  There is also the potential for US LNG exports.

Gas from shale is natural gas, which has been produced safely in Europe for many years.

  • Natural gas is an affordable, efficient energy source.
  • It has a smaller environmental footprint with lower GHG emissions and a lower surface footprint than other conventional energy.
  • As a fuel for power generation, it gives off very low emissions of nitrogen oxides and sulphur dioxide – both associated with acid rain – and virtually no emissions of mercury, soot or other solid waste. 
  • Gas-fired power stations emit less than half of the CO2 of hard coal-fired facilities and less than a third of CO2 from lignite-fired power.
  • It reduces CO2 emissions. Between 2007 and 2012 the US cut CO2 emissions by 450 million tons thanks to the shift from coal to gas in power generation.
  • It is abundant. IEA estimates show that reserves of natural gas extracted from unconventional sources, like gas from shale, coal bed methane and tight gas almost double recoverable gas resources (using current technology and economic models).
  • It has potential for economic benefits such as increased employment, tax revenues and royalties.
  • Shale gas development within europe could trigger the creation of between 400,000 and 800,000 new jobs by 2035, and between 600,000 to 1.1 million by 2050. Many of these jobs would be in the industries most affected by Europe’s crisis – and would be in net addition to any new jobs generated by other sectors, including the renewable energy industry.
  • European production could reduce dependence on gas imports to between 62% and 78%, down from an otherwise predicted 89% of demand in 2035. The less Europe spends on energy imports, the more it can invest internally, stimulating national and local economies. .
  • In Europe, shale gas production could add a total of 1.7 trillion to 3.8 trillion euros to the economy between 2020 and 2050.
  • It contributes to supply diversity and security for Europe by increasing domestic supplies.

In Europe, successful exploration of gas from shale could also potentially provide an additional source of secure and competitive energy that could make an immediate and positive impact on reaching the EU’s ambitious CO2 reduction targets. European legislators have ensured that the exploration and production of natural gas in Europe is one of the most highly regulated processes in the world. In fact, gas from shale development is regulated by 14 different pieces of EU legislation, as well as a strong existing regulatory regime at national and local level. OGP and its members work within the effective implementation of existing regulations and recognise that this is an important factor in reducing risk for all gas operations.


OGP acknowledges the importance of industry and authorities cooperating and establishing a dialogue to address public concerns through the open sharing of information and knowledge. Industry experience has demonstrated that early dialogue with local communities is the most important element of maintaining the trust necessary for successful development. As part of our efforts to build trust we have developed a transparency initiative for European drilling projects – It is a public hydraulic fracturing disclosure website where members of the public can search for nearby well sites that have been hydraulically fractured to see what chemicals were used to fracture natural gas resources on a well-by-well basis. 


Latest press releases on gas from shale

EU domestic shale gas production could add a million jobs, new study shows

Brussels, Belgium. The development of shale gas in Europe could add as many as one million jobs to the economy, make industry more competitive and decrease the region’s dependence on energy imports, according to a new study released today.

Shale gas chemical disclosure site reaches 10-well milestone

London, UK., the voluntary oil & gas industry natural gas from shale well disclosure website, has published its tenth well disclosure sheet.

OGP urges EU Parliament to consider differences between exploration and production in environmental impact assessment

In an effort to avoid undermining Europe’s economic recovery, the International Association of Oil & Gas Producers (OGP) today encouraged the European Parliament to prevent undesirable consequences from new European Union environmental impact legislation.

New OGP website identifies chemicals used in shale gas operations

The International Association of Oil & Gas Producers launched a new website today to share information about chemicals used in shale gas operations in Europe.

UK shows commitment to European gas-from-shale development

The international oil and gas industry has welcomed the UK government’s landmark decision to allow hydraulic fracturing to resume and to establish an Office for Unconventional Oil and Gas –  actions that pave the way for the potential development of ‘gas-from-shale’ in the UK.

International Association of Oil & Gas Producers (OGP) commends the European Parliament’s recognition of the important role of gas from shale in Europe

The International Association of Oil & Gas Producers (OGP) welcomes the European Parliament’s (EP) approval of two gas from shale reports from the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) Committee and the Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) Committee.