The impacts of technology on global unconventional gas supply
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As energy supplies from known resources are declining, the development of new energy sources is mandatory. One reasonable source is natural gas from unconventional resources. This study focus on three types of unconventional gas resources: coalbeds, tight sands, and shales. Whereas these resources are abundant, they have largely been overlooked and understudied, especially outside of North America. New technologies, including those needed to unlock unconventional gas (UCG) resources, have been acknowledged to be the most significant factor in increasing natural gas supply in the United States. This study evaluates advances in critical technology that will most likely increase supply the most. Advanced technology is one of the main drivers in increasing unconventional natural gas production, as observed in the United States, Canada, and Australia. 3D seismic, horizontal drilling, multilateral completion, water and gel based fracturing, coiled tubing rig, enhanced recovery, and produced water treatments are current important technologies critical in developing unconventional gas resources. More advanced technologies with significant impacts are expected to be available in the next decades. Fit-to-purpose technology reduces the cost to recover gas from unconventional resources. The better the unconventional gas resources are characterized, the better we can tailor specific technology to recover the gas, and less cost are needed. Analogy assumption is a good start in deciding which critical technology to be transferred to undeveloped unconventional reservoirs. If the key properties of two unconventional gas basins or formations are more or less similar, it is expected that the impact of certain technology applied in one basin or formation will resemble the impact to the other basin or formation.