Worldwide natural gas production is expected to increase from 342 billion cubic feet per day in 2015 to 554 Bcf/d by 2040, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
The largest component of the growth is natural gas production from shale resources, which grows from 42 Bcf/d in 2015 to 168 Bcf/d by 2040, EIA said in its International Energy Outlook 2016 and the Annual Energy Outlook 2016.
Shale gas is expected to account for 30 percent of world natural gas production by the end of the forecast period.
Although currently only four countries, the United States, Canada, China, and Argentina, have commercial shale gas production, technological improvements over the forecast period are expected to encourage the development of shale resources in other countries, primarily in Mexico and Algeria. Together, these six countries are projected to account for 70 percent of global shale production by 2040.
In the United States only, shale gas accounted for more than half of the country’s natural gas production in 2015. It is also projected to more than double from 37 Bcf/d in 2015 to 79 Bcf/d by 2040, which is 70 percent of total U.S. natural gas production in the AEO2016 reference case by 2040.
Shale gas production in Canada is projected to continue increasing and to account for almost 30% of Canada’s total natural gas production by 2040, EIA said.
In the past five years China drilled more than 600 shale gas wells and produced 0.5 Bcf/d of shale gas as of 2015, and by 2040 shale gas is projected to account for more than 40 percent of the country’s total natural gas production.
Foreign investment in Argentinian shale gas projects has been on the rise and it is expected that by 2040 it could reach 70 percent of the country’s total gas production, if it expands pipeline infrastructure and resolves issues with shortages of specialized rigs and fracturing equipment.
Algeria started a pilot shale gas well project and is looking to start producing shale gas commercially by 2020, EIA said adding that shale gas could cover around one-third of Algeria’s total natural gas production by 2040.
Mexico is also expected to develop its shale gas resources gradually with commercial production expected to begin after 2030. By 2040, shale gas would be contributing more than 75 percent of Mexico’s total natural gas production, EIA said.