Unconventional oil and gas developments are rare in Africa despite some exploration in Madagascar in the last few years and incoming attempts in South Africa. In terms of skills, it is still difficult for experts in conventional oil to make a quick move to unconventional assets.
Professionals in this area still need some training and time to adapt, but having said that, it’s clearly an asset for the future. Once environmental/governmental issues are set-up, projects will be flourishing and experts will be strongly pursued.
As the world moves towards cutting greenhouse gas emissions, Australia is steaming ahead with the development of unconventional energy options. Australia has a wealth of unconventional energy reserves which could be of significant value from an economic perspective.
Given the island status of Australia, the country has significant opportunities to embrace natural elements such as tidal, solar and wind; not to mention large unconventional gas and uranium reserves. These options will no doubt go a long way towards meeting energy demands domestically as well as providing an attractive export revenue stream.
Only time will tell just how much potential unconventional energy Australia possesses. Political, social and economic challenges will no doubt be tackled as governmental bodies and industry organisations strive to develop the right balance between community needs, environmental protection and the lucrative profitability of such projects.
In the coming years there could be a greater focus on R&D in Brazil for unconventional oil and gas resources. Pre-salt is a good example of where some companies had structured the area of research and development in technology for ultra-deep waters, helping them discover extra resources.
There is the new development of Shale gas in the UK; something that may offer new opportunities for candidates who don’t want to work somewhere like Aberdeen, where the market is conventional for either shallow or deep sea drilling.
At first glance, US unconventional plays have experienced a constriction since early 2012. While the rig count has lowered the number of wells drilled per rig has increased, as older rigs have been stacked and more efficient rigs are put into play. This increase in drilling efficiency has left behind a large backlog of uncompleted wells, in turn the demand for completion engineers and technology has increased.
There has been an uptick in foreign investment over the last 18 months, as INOCs (international operating companies) have made a push to enter the US shale market. This is driven primarily by the still healthy ROI on unconventional plays as well as the need to be on the forefront of shale technology development, including hydraulic fracturing. These technologies are needed to explore unconventional plays in other parts of the world such as Poland, France, Germany, Hungary, Sweden, Turkey, and the UK, but are much more developed in the US than elsewhere.
The US job market has seen a decrease in roles supported by unconventional exploration. However, the demand for completion, production equipment and services will continue to grow. This will have a positive affect the oilfield services industry as well as the manufacturing and technology sectors.
Other sectors of the economy that will be largely impacted by the unconventional natural gas boom include power generation and transportation. There are already signs of a sustained redevelopment of US energy infrastructure to support domestic consumption of natural gas in lieu of more conventional resources, such as coal and oil.
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