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US firms “very interested” in unlocking Brazil shale gas potential

19th August 2013

Brazil could become world’s second biggest gas producer in a decade with investment in exploration and production technology

US firms “very interested” in unlocking Brazil shale gas potential
Overview shot of Brazil's Paraná basin, a formation rich in shale gas reserves yet untapped

US companies are best placed to tap into Brazil’s vast unexploited shale gas reserves, US Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said in Brasilia on 16 August.


After meeting with leaders in Brazil’s oil and gas industry, Moriz told journalists “We think development of unconventional resources across the world could be a very good thing for the global hydrocarbon markets.”


“It really has enormous impact and then when you come to Brazil, with its potential resource in gas, of course, our companies are very interested in participating.”


Brazil is currently a net importer of natural gas, but it has the potential to become the world’s second largest producer.


The EIA estimates that Brazil possesses one tenth of the world’s technically recoverable shale gas reserves, with initial maps pointing to five major prospects in the Parnaíba, Parecis, São Francisco, Paraná and Reconcavo basins.


Shale gas exploration rights have already been granted to 39 exploration blocks in São Francisco. Among the major companies prospecting for unconventional gas exploration in this basin are Imetame, Cemig, Orteng, DELP, Shell, Petrobras and Petra.


However, it could take a decade before these prospects become productive. The national agency ANP in May stated that Brazil would need to start investing now if it was to start producing shale gas by 2023.


Moriz is hopeful that the US’ proven success in hydraulic fracturing technologies will attract some of this investment. The US “clearly today has the most experience in this area,” he said.


Describing shale gas production as a “revolution”, Moriz said “It has lowered carbon dioxide emissions by replacing coal; it has led to a revival of a lot of manufacturing.”


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