New assessment of the Danish shale gas potential

Published 04-12-2013

New estimate of the technical recoverable shalegas resource in Denmark announced by USGS at a meeting at GEUS.

Denmark has a significant shalegas potential. This is the conclusion of a study by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). USGS estimates the mean technical recoverable gas potential from shales in Denmark to 186 Billion Nm3 gas (6.9 TCF). The resource is distributed with 67 Billion Nm3 gas (2.5 TCF) onshore and 119 Billion Nm3 gas (4.4 TCF) offshore. The estimate varies from a lower limit (P95) of 0 Billion Nm3 gas (0 TCF), since producible gas in the shales has not yet been proven, to an upper resource (P5) of 356 Billion Nm3 gas (13.4 TCF). USGS has used similar methodologies as for assessment of shale gas plays in North America and scientists from the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland (GEUS) has contributed to the geological analysis of the resource assessment.

The estimated technical recoverable shale gas resource is comparable to the amount of produced gas from the Danish part of the North Sea in the period 1972-2011 and twice the amount of the remaining reserve and conditional gas resource in the Danish part of the North Sea. In contrast to the resource estimates in the North Sea the estimated shalegas resource only reports the potential technical resource and does not take into account if the resource is economically viable.

The large uncertainty in the estimate reflects that the occurrence of shale gas in Denmark has not yet been proven and that the estimation of the gas content in the shales are highly uncertain. Shale gas exploration in Denmark is in its very early stages and new knowledge from wells is needed to better calibrate the resource estimation model and thus to reduce the uncertainty of the estimate.

The Advanced Resources International Inc. (ARI) assessed in 2013 on behalf of the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) the global shale gas resource. For Denmark ARI estimated the technical shalegas resource to be 857 Billion Nm3 gas (32 TCF). The USGS estimate is significantly lower than the estimate presented by ARI. The estimated made by ARI and USGS reflect two different approaches and cannot be compared directly. The difference, however, mainly reflect that the USGS estimate is based on a much more detailed geological model of the subsurface of Denmark as compared with the geological model used by ARI and by a detailed benchmarking of the Danish shales to North America analogies.

Read: USGS's assessment of the Danish shale gas

Read USGS Press

Read: Advanced Resources International (ARI) analysis:

Read: GEUS-USGS Geological background for the Alum Shale assessment Factsheet 2013-3103:
GEUS_USGS_geological_background_for_the_Alumshale_assesment.pdf (pdf-file ~6,7 mb)

Take a look at the slides from the lectures:

Donald L Gautier: Undiscovered Resources in the Alum Shale of Denmark (pdf-file ~3mb)

Peter Britze: Shale Gas studies in Europe and the Need for a Pan-European Coordinated Assessment (pdf-file ~3,4 mb)

Niels Schovsbo: Gas Resources in the Alum Shale: Geological Analysis (pdf-file ~1,8mb)

For additional information contact:

Head of Reservoir Department Peter Britze, GEUS
Cell phone: +45 91 33 37 51

Senior researcher Niels H. Schovsbo, GEUS
Cell phone: +45 91 33 37 59

Deputy Director Flemming Getreuer Christiansen from GEUS welcomed the meeting of 3. December 2013, where the results of a new assessment of Denmark's shale gas potential was released by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).

Coordinator of the Energy Program at USGS Brenda Pierce released the results of the new assessment of the technical recoverable shalegas in Denmark.

Geologist Donald L. Gautier ph.d. from USGS gave a thorough presentation of the assessment. After his presentation he gave the word to Niels Schovsbo from GEUS, who presented background data for the assessment and running research. Peter Britze from GEUS finished the meeting with remarks on European shale gas studies. .