Big Firms Say Shale Plays Are Here To Stay

"Shale gases have redefined natural gas supply" is the quote from Hill Vaden of Wood Mackenzie. As large scale firms enter shale plays across the U.S., it is an indication that things have changed for the long term. The Kinder Morgan - El Paso merger is the latest shale driven deal that expands a companies foot print and leverage to the growing shale boom. With Exxon and international companies like Statoil in the fray, you can bet many of the development decisions that are made today are part of long - very long term plans. Shale plays are ushering in a new wave of domestic development. Just visit North Dakota, Pennsylvania, or Texas if you don't believe me.

Since 2008, energy companies have spent $133 billion on mergers and acquisitions related to shale, according to energy research firm IHS-Herold. That's more than China spends on its military annually — the second-largest defense budget in the world behind the United States'.

And that includes just companies gaining access to the acreage and resources for shale drilling. It doesn't count Kinder Morgan's $21.1 billion deal to buy El Paso Corp. and its network of natural gas pipelines.

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