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Hello, Japan. Welcome to the Shale Age

October 4, 2012

The Japan Petroleum Exploration Company has extracted the first shale oil from a field in Akita Prefecture on northwestern Honshu, the main island of Japan.  This single field is small, but in total the prefecture is estimated to hold 100 million recoverable barrels of oil.  While not a huge find, it is just the tip of the iceberg, both in Japan and globally, as the total size of the shale oil and gas resources grow daily, but exploration has really only just begun.   2012 is to shale as 1901 was to “easy oil” and Bakken is shale’s Spindletop – we won’t notice it in the prices we pay for a few years, until production can match demand, but we are going to see decades of increased production and (eventually) lowered prices, for most of this century.

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