U.S. Pitches Shale Gas Studies Overseas

WASHINGTON (Dow Jones), Apr. 7, 2010

The Obama administration has asked nearly a dozen countries, including China and India, if the U.S. can assess their potential shale gas resources, a senior State Department official said Wednesday.

David Goldwyn, the department's International Energy Affairs Coordinator, said on the sidelines of a conference that if the assessments confirm U.S. Geological Survey estimates for shale gas resources, the new fuel source could transform the nations' energy policies and consumption.

Goldwyn said if the countries consent to Washington's pitch for the USGS to conduct assessments, it could potentially help lower global greenhouse gas emissions and prove a profitable opportunity for U.S. companies that have developed and are perfecting the technologies.

Firms including Chesapeake Energy Corp. and XTO, recently bought by ExxonMobil, are planning to develop massive new domestic shale gas resources. Estimates for domestic natural gas resources have multiplied in recent years because of new shale gas discoveries and technology.

Goldwyn said he expected the assessments -- if the countries consent -- could be completed by the end of 2011. China may give the go-ahead at an economic summit in May, he said.

Demand growth in China and India are soaring as the two most populous countries in the world industrialize. Their primary power source is coal, which has roughly twice the greenhouse gas emissions as natural gas.

Copyright (c) 2010 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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