The shale gas production for the United States witnessed a growth rate of approximately 1.26% during 2017-2018. The overall market for shale gas hydraulic fracturing is greatly influenced by the increasing demand for gas. Also, the depleting resources of conventional oil and gas reserves have shifted the focus toward unconventional reserves, which is expected to have a positive impact on the shale gas hydraulic fracturing market. However, the environmental impact these processes have on groundwater and others is expected to pose a challenge.
- For the shale gas extraction, the horizontal and directional well type is expected to be the fastest-growing well type. The majority of wells active in the Permian Basin, as of 2018, were horizontal wells (more than 2,000). As of April 2019, the total number of drilled wells in the Permian basin reached 555, repressing an increase of around 4.7% compared to the previous year's value in the same month.
- Improvement in the hydraulic fracturing technique is expected to provide a great opportunity for the market studied.
- North America is anticipated to dominate the market globally, in future, with the majority of the demand coming from the United States and Canada.
Key Market Trends
Horizontal and Directional Well Type to Witness a Significant Growth
- Combining a new technique of horizontal drilling with the pre-existing hydraulic fracturing techniques is making it favorable for drilling in shale gas regions.
- The United States can be considered as the country that has benefited the most from the combination of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, as the country has abundant shale reserves. The shift from vertical to horizontal wells has been the most important change to occur over the last decade, allowing for greater formation access, while only incrementally increasing the cost of the well.
- Since 2010, horizontal drilling activity has dominated and accounts for most of the drilling activity. Therefore, an increase in the horizontal well drilling activities propels the high production of shale gas through hydraulic fracturing.
- Also, horizontal drilling is economically viable, as it covers the maximum surface of the strata (cap rock) in which shale gas is preserved.
North America to Dominate the Market
- North America is anticipated to lead the worldwide market for shale gas, in terms of sales. As of 2018, this region held more than two-thirds of the overall market in terms of volume and value.
- In the United States, the production from Marcellus/Utica shale is expected to account for most of the growth in gas production.
- In December 2018, US shale and tight plays produced about 65 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) of natural gas (70% of the total US dry gas production) and about 7 million barrels per day (b/d) of crude oil (60% of the total US oil production).
- Hence, the increasing dominance of the United States in shale gas hydraulic fracturing is reforming the overall energy scenario of North America, and it is expected to have a strong impact on the energy domain, worldwide.
- Also, the availability of resources, including manpower and advanced technology, is favoring the growth of the North American shale gas hydraulic fracturing.
The shale gas hydraulic fracturing market is fragmented. The major companies include Chevron Corporation, Exxon Mobil, Sinopec Ltd, Marathon Oil, and Royal Dutch Shell PLC.
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