In the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s International Energy Outlook 2016 (IEO2016) and Annual Energy Outlook 2016 (AEO2016), shale gas is expected to account for 30% of world natural gas production by 2040.
Natural gas production from shale gas plays accounted for 50% of total U.S. natural gas production in 2015 and it is expected to increase all the way through 2040, according to the EIA, before accounting for 70% of total U.S. natural gas production by 2040.
Shale gas is expected to continuing growing as a percentage of world natural gas production as well.
Shale gas production is projected to account for almost 30% of Canada’s total natural gas production by 2040, more than 40% of China’s, almost 75% of Argentina’s, 33% of Algeria’s, and more than 75% of Mexico’s.
Politics may prompt faster adoption of natural gas as a replacement for coal.
In the EU, the European parliament is already taking steps to enable faster carbon reductions in Europe’s emissions market. A environment committee panel is scheduled to vote on Dec. 8 on a package of legislation that could, among other things such as restructuring overlapping policies and allowances, mean a cut in emission permits. Should such a cut occur, natural gas is the cheapest “clean” alternative to the coal that currently powers much of Europe as it gives off roughly half the emissions per unit of power produced.
Meanwhile, the stance the U.S. government takes on carbon emissions and, by extension, coal.
The two presidential candidates have energy policies on opposite ends of the spectrum of climate change argument. On one hand, the Democratic nominee would continue the Obama administration’s current policies including the Clean Power Plan that would have the EPA limit carbon emissions from power plants. On the other hand, the Republican nominee would attempt to end those policies. The latter scenario would certainly be less harsh for coal companies. That said, natural gas usage would certainly increase under both, just much more so under the Democrat than the Republican.