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Shale gas could play key role in clean energy future – Shell

10th March 2011

By: Chanel de Bruyn
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online

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Shale gas is an immediate opportunity to move towards a sustainable energy future, Shell Upstream Americas VP of development Paul Goodfellow said on Tuesday.

Speaking at a media briefing in Houston, he emphasised that investments should still be made in renewable energy such as wind and solar. However, unconventional gas, such as shale gas, could be used to manage the interruptions in power generation from wind and solar energy.

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He noted that shale gas was the cleanest fossil fuel and an efficient form of energy supply. In North America, it is affordable, available and abundant, which meant that it could provide energy security, as well as create jobs.

Goodfellow said that Shell was confident that it could use this form of energy in a sustainable way, while also creating environmental and socioeconomic benefits.

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He added that Shell’s strategy in North America was to develop material positions in the top tier resource plays in America and then export the technology to other regions.

Goodfellow said that there were still facts about hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, that had to communicated to the public, before proper debates could be held.

While there was still some opposition to this form of technology in the US, those in communities closer to current operations have started gaining a better understanding of how the technology works. These communities were generally more positive about the oil and gas industry and the value that it could add, he said.

Shell is exploring for shale gas in seven core areas across North America.

In South Africa, Shell is planning to explore for shale gas in the Karoo, but the local community is opposing exploration on the grounds of the risk that it would pose to the environment.

The group is applying for exploration rights on three properties of 30 000 km2 each in the Karoo, and plans to drill 24 wells over the 90 000 km2.

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