Exxon, Chevron ‘Land Grab’ for Europe Shale Gas, JPMorgan Says

February 11, 2010, 09:43 PM EST 

By Dinakar Sethuraman

Feb. 11 (Bloomberg) -- Exxon Mobil Corp. and explorers including Chevron Corp. are securing land in Europe to exploit shale gas, a hard-to-extract deposit that could reduce global demand for liquefied natural gas, JPMorgan Chase & Co. said.

Exxon has shale areas in Germany, Hungary and had applied for permits in Poland while ConocoPhillips and Chevron are in Poland and Royal Dutch Shell Plc in southern Sweden to exploit gas trapped in rock formations and impervious to conventional drilling techniques, JPMorgan said in a Feb. 9 report.

“A land-grab has occurred in Europe over the last two years with majors such as Exxon, Conoco, Chevron and Statoil ASA all participating, not willing to miss out as they did in the U.S.,” said Mark Greenwood, a Sydney-based analyst with JPMorgan. “While it’s still early days for European and Chinese shale gas plays, its potential is yet another threat for the LNG supply-demand balance.”

The International Energy Agency said in November the world may have an “acute glut” of gas in the next few years because production of so-called unconventional fuel, which includes shale gas, is set to rise 71 percent between 2007 and 2030. Shale is a rock comprising layers of sediment from which oil and gas can be extracted.

The success of shale gas extraction in Europe and China may sap global LNG demand, reduce Europe’s dependence on Russian natural gas and force new Russian gas projects and Qatari LNG to compete with Australian LNG projects for Asian customers, Greenwood said.

Rising Supplies

Western Europe may have held 510 trillion cubic feet of shale gas as of 2007, JPMorgan said. That’s adequate to feed Germany for 175 years, based on BP Plc’s data.

European shale could be sufficient to displace the equivalent of about 20 million tons a year LNG by 2015, and about 60 million tons a year of capacity by 2020, JPMorgan said. Japan, the world’s biggest LNG buyer, consumed 67 million tons of the fuel in 2008, according to the BP Statistical Review of World Energy.

“U.S. shale gas could grow by 2015 to a similar scale as the entire global LNG market currently and has the potential to displace significant LNG volumes,” Greenwood said.

Exxon agreed on Dec. 14 to acquire XTO Energy Inc. for $31 billion for its shale gas expertise and assets, while OAO Gazprom and its partners delayed the planned start of natural- gas output at the Arctic Shtokman field by three years because of lower demand and growth of shale areas in the U.S.

Qatar had earmarked 25 million tons a year of LNG for the U.S., which doesn’t “appear” to need the gas, according to the JPMorgan report.

Exxon, BG Group Plc and Chevron may invest billions of dollars in LNG ventures in Australia and Papua New Guinea, targeting Asian buyers for the fuel. JPMorgan remained “overweight” on Oil Search Ltd. and Santos Ltd., which are planning LNG ventures in Australia and Papua New Guinea.



Tags: Chevron, Conoco, Europe, Exxon, Gas, LNG, Natural, Shale, Statoil

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I believe we import most of our LNG from Trinidad & Tobago, anyway. As for Europe & Asia, they will do what they have to do to take care of themselves. If they have the gas in place, if it's recoverable, they'll find a way to produce it, I imagine. I don't think any country, or group of countries, is in favor of any one other having as much control over energy & energy security as it looked like Gazprom/Russia was trying to harness. And it looks like China has already begun to move to diversify it's sources.

Just my opinion ...

Qatar had earmarked 25 million tons a year of LNG for the U.S., which doesn’t “appear” to need the gas, according to the JPMorgan report.

Les B, or someone else who knows the conversion factors, would have to tell me how this converts into mcf (so I can relate) so I don't know if this is a significant volume or not. I suspect not since we don't import that much LNG but I'm sure they are disappointed at our percieved lack of "dependance" into the future.
Jffree1, a rough conversion is 1 million tons per year of LNG is equal to ~ 128 MMcfd of natural gas. So 25 MMTPA is ~ 3,200 MMcfd or 3.2 Bcfd of natural gas.

Historical LNG imports have been 1-3 Bcfd but a few years ago we were projecting imports to rise to ~ 10 Bcfd. Hence the reason for the new LNG import terminals.

By the way, the article seems to have overstated the volume of LNG Qatar earmarked for the US as it is probably more like 40% of that number.
Sesport, historically most imports since 2000 had originated from Trinidad. But more recently, imports from Qatar, Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea & Norway have increased. The West Coast of North America will begin receiving cargos from Indonesia, Peru & Russia this year. Trinidad will continue to be the largest source of LNG due to its proximity and priority access to the premium Northeast US market.
Thanks, Les. I've read about some of those developments. In the overall scheme of ng things, I'm getting the picture that projected imports still will be the smaller share of what the US consumes. That the projected rise in imports will be proportional to the projected rise in US consumption.

Interesting how those of us here need & use the information presented in different terms. jffree needs to know the cfd, I relate more to the percentages. lol

Thanks Les. My only real question now is why, with the over supply we have, are we importing ANY LNG? Is it due to contractural obligations and how far into the future?

Sesport, I have to think of those numbers in terms of "How many Haynesville wells will it take to produce that amount of gas @ X mcfd?" Trying to put it into a % hurts my brain, LOL!
jffree - Don't worry, I didn't pick up the calculator to do any of my "fuzzy math." lol I just responded to the overall gist of the article. And, again, I recognize that we all have different ways of wrapping our brains around the information.

Here's the EIA's report, the info about LNG imports is included. Under the Natural Gas section, look for US Natural Gas Production & Imports.


"The outlook for higher U.S. LNG imports in 2010 is largely due to recent global LNG supply additions in Russia, Yemen, Qatar, and Indonesia. EIA expects net imports of natural gas to decline in 2011 as flows from Canada remain limited and global demand for LNG strengthens."

I believe I've read that long term contracts have been the norm, but that this practice is changing and short term contracts are now being made, although I don't know if this is yet a practice with US imports or just other countries. As always, I may be corrected by an expert in the field as Iam not one. I just read too much.


Keep in mind that the US still imports 6-8 Bcfd from Canada so we are a long way from being self sufficient with US domestic gas production.

The highly liquid US gas market says all sources of natural gas supply are always competing for markets. So if a particular LNG cargo can be provided a lower cost than some natural gas from Colorado, the LNG will enter the market.

Most LNG being imported to the US is not under any long term committment but rather is being delivered to the US as the best price market available. Also, many of the international markets lack significant storage capacity and do not have the capability to absorb supplies in excess of their current demand.


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