By Sumit Roy
Anyone following the energy markets in the U.S. is well aware of the fact that production of oil and gas from shale resources has been booming in recent years. According to the Energy Information Administration, output from shale now represents 29 percent and 40 percent of the country's total oil and natural gas production, respectively.
The increase in U.S. shale oil production has been so dramatic that it's had an impact on the global market, which up until recently was dominated by producers in the Middle East and Africa. As time goes on, the U.S. is becoming an increasingly important player on the supply side of the market.
However, something that is curious about this latest oil and gas boom is the fact that the U.S. is largely the only country where shale output has taken off. According to a new report from the EIA, "currently, only the United States and Canada are producing shale oil and shale gas in commercial quantities."
But that could change. Estimates from Advanced Resources International show that the U.S. doesn't even hold the largest shale resources in the world. When it comes to oil, Russia has more, while three countries could potentially have more shale gas resources than the U.S. - China, Argentina and Algeria.
Of course, having the resources and developing them are two completely different things. The U.S. is at the forefront of the shale boom because it has developed the technology and know-how to profitably extract these resources. Other countries are far behind, and it will be some time - if ever - before significant quantities of shale oil or natural gas production come online elsewhere.