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US not ready for debate on exporting shale gas: Shell official

Washington (Platts)–26Apr2011/533 pm EDT/2133 GMT

Shell’s president for US operations on Tuesday called talk of exporting shale gas premature, at least politically.

“We’re still waking up to the fact that we have this enormous energy resource in our backyard,” Marvin Odum said at the US Energy Information Administration’s conference in Washington. “It completely changed the way we look at energy as a country.”

“I think we finish that realization process and then have the political debate about whether exporting some of that energy is something we allow to happen or not.”

The business case for exporting shale gas as LNG is strong, Odum said.

“If you look at it from a pure commercial global gas business perspective, it could make some good sense,” he said. “I just recognize we haven’t had that debate.”

Odum, in the same address, gave a dim outlook for a proposed gas pipeline from Alaska’s North Slope to Alberta. In December, EIA dropped the estimated $40 billion project from its long-term supply forecast, deciding it would not overcome competition from cheaper, closer-to-market shale gas and get built in the next two decades.

“You need a strong commercial driver to connect that gas resource with the Lower 48,” Odum said. “With the number of resources that have been discovered recently in North America, you can see why that presents quite a challenge to the commercial drivers for building that pipeline.”

–Meghan Gordon, [email protected]


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