/ industry insight
Unconventional Resources: Sustainably Powering the FutureWhile concerns over how to meet the world’s need for fuel are certainly not new, the climbing global population and resultant mounting energy demands on finite traditional resources make the topic more pressing. Further, there is substantial concern over the impact a fuel-hungry world is having on the environment. However, new developments in “unconventional resources” (shale, tight, and coal seam gas) offer viable solutions that not only help meet energy demands but do so in a cleaner, more secure, and more economical way.
The prospects of natural gas are powerful and can help enable energy independence across the globe. For example, the volume of US shale gas reserves, as estimated by the US Energy Information Agency, doubled in 2010, and supplies are projected to increase over the next several decades. Discoveries of natural gas reserves from unconventional resources—including shale gas in the US, China, Poland, Argentina and South Africa; coal bed methane gas in Australia and China; and the oil sands in Canada—have significantly increased global capacity and present an immense opportunity to stabilize the cost of energy and help ensure reliability.
Promoting and implementing more widespread use of these unconventional resources will take cohesive, cooperative effort, incorporating approaches and perspectives from stakeholders across the energy sector.
A new ground-breaking collaboration between GE and Chesapeake Energy, one of the largest natural gas producers in North America, illustrates how close collaboration can lead to game-changing results. Through a multi-year agreement, we will be working with Chesapeake to make natural gas (CNG) and liquefied natural gas (LNG) transportation more widely available.
For those in the unconventional resources industry, the following goals are key to supporting safer and more environmentally responsible development of alternative fuels:
• Enhancing understanding of the impacts of production through increased transparency by the unconventional resources industry
• Mitigating environmental concerns through collaboration among public, private, and academic sectors to develop additional technologies and cost-effective best practices and regulations
• Working to develop reasonable and protective regulations that promote the adoption of advanced technologies
As development of unconventional resources moves forward and alternative fuel sources gain increasing prominence, focusing on these goals will help those in the energy industry continue on the right track to deliver more sustainable, abundant, and affordable energy to the world.