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Q&A: Will shale revolutionise gas?

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image captionWill hopes of abundant shale gas supplies prove nothing more than a pipe dream?

"If shale gas fails to deliver on current expectations, then in 10 years or so, gas supplies could face serious constraints."

So says Paul Stevens, a senior fellow at the international affairs think tank, Chatham House.

He's penned a report that raises serious doubts about whether shale gas will indeed deliver.

So what is shale gas, why is it such a big deal, and what will happen if it turns out to be one big wild goose chase?

image captionA core of shale rock from which gas is a natural by-product
image captionGazprom says that exploiting its gas shale deposits would be prohibitively expensive
image captionPennsylvania called a three-year moratorium on the Marcellus gas project over environmental concerns
image captionUncertainty over shale is depressing investment in other gas facilities such as liquefied natural gas

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