The giant global oil companies, the so-called ‘Majors’ such as Royal Dutch Shell and Chevron, have overcome their reluctance to get involved in shale oil, and consequences could transform the economics of energy.
Peripheral industry players pioneered the technologies involved in getting natural gas or oil out of shale in the early years of this millennium — independent “exploration and production” (E&P) companies like Mitchell Energy or Brigham Resources. They also took political fire as “fracking” became a contentious issue.
Now the Majors are entering the field. Shell, for example, has launched an initiative called iShale, bringing a new level of automation and data analysis to the exploration of once unlikely source rock.
The Thing to Know:
Many forecasters have lately become bullish about crude oil prices, because OPEC countries have shown discipline in withholding supply. An increase in prices will make once-peripheral geology, in non-OPEC countries, more attractive.