Market Watch
Dearth of Engineers a Barrier to Shale Gas Spread

Thursday, June 16, 2011

HOUSTON (MarketWatch) -- The global spread of shale drilling will depend on the availability of manpower, oilfield equipment and advanced drilling technology, Schlumberger Ltd. executive Valerie Jochen said Thursday.

"The main obstacles are going to be ... the amount of resources that we have that are willing to leave North America to go globally, I think that's from people and from hardware," Jochen, technical director for Schlumberger's unconventional resources production business, said during consultancy Bentek Energy's annual natural gas conference here.

In recent years producers in North America have unleashed a flood of oil and natural gas from deeply buried formations of shale by combining complex horizontal drilling techniques with hydraulic fracturing. Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, involves forcing millions of gallons of water mixed with chemicals and sand into the ground to break open the energy-bearing rocks.

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