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BP official: Worldwide shale boom bypassing Four Corners

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The Four Corners, epicenter of previous energy booms, is largely being left out of the action as a revolution in shale gas drilling ripples across the world, The Durango Herald reported.

Christof Rühl, chief economist for BP, was in Denver Wednesday for the Colorado Oil and Gas Association’s annual convention and sat for an interview with The Durango Herald, tracing a chain reaction from shale drilling in the United States that has moved across the globe.

“The (shale) resource globally is widespread, but for the foreseeable future, most of it will come out of the United States,” Rühl said.

Open competition and private control of gas and oil are the reasons that companies developed the hydraulic fracturing techniques necessary to tap shale rocks in the United States and not in other countries with government-owned gas and oil fields, he said.

The Four Corners once boasted the nation’s best natural-gas field, the San Juan Basin, but while the field remains productive, energy companies are chasing gas and oil from tight shale rocks in massive new fields across the country, according to The Herald.

Rühl said he could not speak specifically about the San Juan Basin, where production has been dropping since 2003, but said that generally energy companies are shifting their investment decisions now that the country is awash in cheap natural gas, The Herald said.

“One region’s gain is another’s pain,” Rühl said.

Instead of drilling more traditional natural-gas wells or coal-bed methane wells — the kind found in the San Juan Basin — companies are now drilling shale oil wells, which often produce natural gas as a byproduct, he told The Herald.

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