U.S. to Help Other Nations Assess Shale Gas Resources


"The U.S. has officially offered its assistance to China and India. . ."

The United States plans to help other countries determine if they have big natural gas resources trapped in shale rock, a top U.S. State Department official said on Wednesday.

Switching to natural gas from coal to fuel power plants would result in fewer greenhouse gas emissions, while helping developing countries provide electricity for their growing economies.

Improved drilling technology has allowed the U.S. to boost its production of shale gas and increase its gas reserves by decades.

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) will offer its services to 710 countries that have the best prospects for holding vast resources of shale gas, said David Goldwyn, the State Department's coordinator for international energy affairs.

"That is good for their development and that is also good for their ability to have a choice in fuel," Goldwyn said while speaking at the United States Energy Association's annual meeting.

The U.S. has officially offered its assistance to China and India; other countries with potentially large shale gas resources being considered include Jordan, Poland, Chile, Uruguay and Morocco.

He said the State Department may get China's answer in May and India's in early June, adding that any countries that accept the offer must allow the USGS to make the gas resource information public. That would provide some assurance of the resource assessments accuracy for companies wanting to develop shale resources.

The State Department will also help those countries determined to have shale gas come up with a plan to bring those resources to market.

The U.S. will also show the countries how to auction off the shale gas, establish investment returns that attract companies to develop the gas and provide the infrastructure for moving the equipment to produce the gas.

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