The Unconventional Oil and Gas Market Outlook: The future of oil sands, shale gas, oil shale and coalbed methane

Oil sands, shale gas, oil shale, and coalbed methane (CBM) are the primary unconventional oil and gas resources in the world today. These resources are called unconventional as they are extracted, processed, and refined in a manner that is different from the conventional. Typically, unconventional resources are difficult-to-extract, expensive to refine, and have more impact on the environment. Sustained high oil and gas prices until mid-2008 led to the development of these resources as governments across the world were concerned about dwindling energy supplies amid rising demand. Technological advancements further aided their development. Volatility in commodity prices adds to the uncertainty in unconventionals development. Rise in environmental concerns over extraction and development of unconventional resources may likely slow down the growth of the industry.

This report analyzes the growth of the unconventional oil and gas resources worldwide, discusses the drivers and resistors of the industry, and includes production forecasts for key regions.

The report documents statistical data on reserves, production including projections until 2030 for primary markets.

Key features of this report

Overview of the global unconventional oil and gas market with focus on key regions such as North America, Europe, and Asia-Pacific.

Growth of various unconventional resources – reserve estimates, current production, and outlook.

Information and analysis by resource – oil sands, heavy oil, shale gas, oil shale, and CBM.

Reserves, production, potential, drivers, resistors, key players, and outlook for various unconventional resources in different regions of the world.
Production forecasts for established markets and insights on emerging markets in the unconventional oil and gas market.

Scope of this report

Achieve a quick and comprehensive understanding of the global unconventional oil and gas industry.

Assess the emerging trends in each of the unconventional resources – oil sands, shale gas, oil shale, and CBM.

Quantify reserves and production in key markets such as the US, Canada, Australia, and China.

Understand the major issues surrounding the development of unconventional resources in important regions of the world.
Predict and identify growth potential by resource globally.

Key Market Issues

Energy security: Concerns over energy security forced countries such as the US to invent new technologies to tap resources that were previously inaccessible.

Technological developments: Technological developments in bitumen upgradation, horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing enabled the exploitation of unconventional resources. Continued technological advancements are helping to reduce the carbon footprint and overall environmental impact while increasing the efficiency of exploration and development operations.

High cost of extraction and development: Unconventional oil and gas resources need high commodity prices to be economically viable due to relatively high cost of extraction and development. Volatility in commodity prices adds to the uncertainty in unconventionals development.

Global natural gas glut: An unexpected rise in natural gas production and reserves in the US led to a global supply glut, which could threaten the development of unconventionals in Asia and Europe.
Impact on environment: Development of unconventional resources is increasingly clouded by environmental concerns, which could hamper the growth of the industry.

Key findings from this report

The world’s largest oil sands deposits exist in Canada with as much as 173bn barrels of proved reserves, making the country the second largest holder of oil reserves after Saudi Arabia.

In 2009, 1.4m barrels of oil per day were estimated to be produced from Canadian oil sands projects, which grew at a CAGR of 8.9% from 1.0m barrels of oil per day in 2005.

According to the US EIA, the shale gas proved reserves in the US totaled 32,825 bcf by end of 2008. Industry estimates put US natural gas reserves to last for 100 years at 2008 production rates.

Shale gas production in the US grew at a CAGR of 21.2% to reach 1.49 tcf in 2008 from 0.69 tcf in 2004. Its share in total US natural gas production increased from 3.7% in 2004 to 7.3% in 2008. By 2035 shale gas is anticipated to supply 25.8% of the consumption needs of the US.
According to Royal Dutch Shell, Europe’s unconventional gas reserves may total 1,200 tcf, approximately five times the proven conventional gas reserves.

Key questions answered

What are the primary unconventional oil and gas resources in the world today at present?

What are the technologies used in exploring and developing unconventional resources such as oil sands and shale gas?

What are the key drivers of unconventionals in general and key drivers in specific regions?

What are the key resistors of unconventionals in general and key resistors in specific regions?

What is the status of development of unconventionals across continents – North America, South America, Europe, Africa and Asia-Pacific?
Which unconventional resources are set to grow strongly and where?

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