Shale gas is natural gas formed from being trapped within shale formations. Shale gas has become an increasingly important source of natural gas in the United States since the start of this century, and interest has spread to potential gas shales in the rest of the world. In 2000 shale gas provided only 1% of U.S. natural gas production; by 2010 it was over 20% and the U.S. government's Energy Information Administration predicts that by 2035 46% of the United States' natural gas supply will come from shale gas.
Some analysts expect that shale gas will greatly expand worldwide energy supply. China is estimated to have the world's largest shale gas reserves. A study by the Baker Institute of Public Policy at Rice University concluded that increased shale gas production in the US and Canada could help prevent Russia and Persian Gulf countries from dictating higher prices for the gas they export to European countries.
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