And It Just Keeps Gettin’ Better…
1.9 quadrillion. No, we’re not talking about current debt owned by the U.S. Treasury – at least not yet. According to a report issued today by the Potential Gas Committee, that’s the estimated number of cubic feet of clean-burning, job-creating natural gas reserves available right here in America — representing the biggest number reported in the 46-year history of the Committee.
“The Potential Gas Committee (PGC) today released the results of its latest biennial assessment of the nation’s natural gas resources, which indicates that the United States possesses a total resource base of 1,898 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) as of year-end 2010. This is the highest resource evaluation in the Committee’s 46-year history, exceeding the previous record-high assessment [in 2008] by 61 Tcf.”
“When the PGC’s results are combined with the U.S. Department of Energy’s latest available determination of proved dry-gas reserves, 273 Tcf as of year-end 2009, the United States has a total available future supply of 2,170 Tcf, an increase of 89 Tcf over the previous evaluation.”
“The largest volumetric and/or percentage increases in individual resource categories … resulted mainly from reassessments of active and newly developing shale-gas plays…”
Our friends at the American Gas Association weigh-in, too:
“This report confirms once again our great optimism regarding natural gas supply in America,” said Dave McCurdy, president and CEO of AGA. “Abundant, diverse supply has helped to stabilize natural gas prices and to ensure reliability for natural gas customers even if sudden shifts in demand occur—weather induced or otherwise.. … An expanding resource base underpins future increases in natural gas supply, which is good news for the millions of families, businesses and industries that rely on this foundation fuel.”
Of course, much of this reliable, American resource would remain out of reach without key technologies like horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing. Sure, talking in terms of quadrillions can seem hard to grasp. And at the same time, many continue to question this production’s record of environmental safety.
This is why it’s so crucial to not only fully appreciate the tangible, real-life benefits of American energy production, but most importantly to recognize the facts regarding fracturing’s long and clear record of safety from independent experts and environmental regulators.
- IPAA’s Barry Russell: For the past 60 years, state regulators have ably regulated hydraulic fracturing. State regulatory agencies have a unique and far superior understanding of their regions than EPA could ever amass. A misguided, one-sized-fits-all approach to regulating fracturing — as called for in Senator Bob Casey’s FRAC Act — would dramatically undermine American natural gas production without adding any environmental benefits. (National Journal, 4/26/11)
- “Fracking safe and adequately regulated, speakers say at forum”: Hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling techniques are used in 90 percent of wells in the United States, and precautions are in place to ensure that groundwater is unharmed by growing production, speakers at a federal forum said Monday. … Dave Neslin, director of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, which regulates the industry on private lands, said Colorado ranks fifth in the nation for gas production and 10th in oil. He said most of Colorado’s 44,000 active wells — 37 percent of which are in Weld County — rely on fracking to create permeability in the rock and open pathways for oil and gas to reach the surface. “This technology is absolutely vital to unlocking Colorado’s rich oil and gas reserves,” he said. … Rich Ward, a geologist with the Aspen Science Center, said there are seven layers of steel piping and cement that isolate the well from contact with subsurfaces, including water tables. “Well integrity is the absolute key in this whole process,” he said. … He said the COGCC has investigated hundreds of complaints about contamination related to fracking “and to date we’ve not found any instances of groundwater contamination.” (Greeley Tribune, 4/25/11)
- “No documented cases of water pollution from the hydraulic fracturing”: If you buried a refrigerator thousands of feet underground and could explain where it was, today’s oil and gas well drillers could punch their drill bit right into your freezer. “I’ve had people say they can put that bit in a refrigerator if they know where you want it to go,” Tom Doll, superintendent of the Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, told attendees at a Monday meeting in Douglas to discuss the developing Niobrara Shale play. … Doll and John Corra, head of the Wyoming DEQ, said there were no documented cases of water pollution from the hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, method in which water, sand and chemical additives are pumped underground to fracture open areas so oil and gas can flow. (Casper Star-Tribune, 4/26/11)
- “WTF: What the frack is hydraulic fracturing?” Many think it’s gas from the Marcellus, and conclude if the gas made it into wells, so could frack water. But it’s not Marcellus gas. We know because shale gas has a different isotopic signature. “We’ve never seen Marcellus gas in anyone’s water supply,” [Scott Perry, head of the oil and gas division of the state Pa. Department of Environmental Protection] said. (Patriot-News, 4/25/11)
- Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers: “Shale gas ‘fracking’ is safe”: This oil and gas industry practice has been safely used for decades. Industry has more than 60 years of experience using hydraulic fracturing. During this time, federal and provincial governments, with the co-operation of industry, have developed regulations to ensure the practice is conducted safely and responsibly. (Toronto Star, 4/25/11)
- Retired NYU Professor: “Pa. well-prepared to regulate Marcellus Shale gas drilling”: Indeed, Pennsylvania’s DEP oversees some of the most stringent natural gas regulations in the country. Pennsylvania oil and gas exploration is strictly regulated under a string of laws, including Pennsylvania’s Oil and Gas Act, the Coal and Gas Resource Coordination Act, the Oil and Gas Conservation Law, the Clean Streams Law, the Dam Safety and Encroachments Act, the Solid Waste Management Act and the Water Resources Planning Act. With such a long list, it would be hard to defend claims that regulation of natural gas production here is insufficient. (Allentown Morning Call Op-Ed, 4/26/11)