Clean-Burning, Homegrown American Energy Production Raising Eyebrows Across the Pond
Prominently featured atop the Drudge Report today is an article from the UK Telegraph entitled “Energy crisis is postponed as new gas rescues the world.” The focus of the article, written by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, is the expansion of American natural gas production from shale rock, miles below the earth’s surface.
Thanks to cutting-edge, 21st century technologies – particularly hydraulic fracturing – gas reserves that were once considered unreachable are now being safely produced. In this process, thousands of American jobs are being created, billions in economic output are being generating, and American energy security is growing stronger.
Here are the key take-aways from the article:
“’There has been a revolution in the gas fields of North America. Reserve estimates are rising sharply as technology unlocks unconventional resources,’ said [Tony Hayward, BP’s chief executive.”
“The common wisdom was that unconventional gas was too difficult, too expensive and too demanding. This has changed. If we ever doubted that gas was the fuel of the future – in many ways there’s the answer.”
The breakthrough has been to combine 3-D seismic imaging with new technologies to free “tight gas” by smashing rocks, known as hydro-fracturing or “fracking” in the trade.
The US is leading the charge. Operations in Pennsylvania and Texas have already been sufficient to cut US imports of liquefied natural gas (LGN) from Trinidad and Qatar to almost nil, with knock-on effects for the global gas market – and crude oil. It is one reason why spot prices for some LNG deliveries have dropped to 50pc of pipeline contracts.
The US Energy Department expects shale to meet half of US gas demand within 20 years, if not earlier. Projects are cranking up in eastern France and Poland. Exploration is under way in Australia, India and China.
Texas A&M University said US methods could increase global gas reserves by nine times to 16,000 TCF (trillion cubic feet).
Needless to say, the Kremlin is irked. “There’s a lot of myths about shale production,” said Gazprom’s Alexander Medvedev.
Other regional newspapers here at home are also taking notice of the economic activity that natural gas production, because of hydraulic fracturing, is helping the US realize.
Today’s Buffalo News reported this under the headline “There’s gold (sort of) in them hills”:
The result is that a horizontal well, in just the right place, can tap into far larger natural gas deposits than a well that just goes straight down. A conventional gas well, costing about $250,000 to drill in less productive portions of the Southern Tier or northwestern Pennsylvania, might produce about 100,000 cubic feet of gas per day, roughly enough to supply 1,000 homes for a year.”
And with the US unemployment rate at a 26-year high, the jobs created though this safe and well-regulated energy production process are especially heartening.
The Danville (PA) Daily Item, under the headline “Official sees 8000 shale drilling jobs,” reported this last week:
Lycoming County Commissioner Rebecca A. Burke told the Greater Susquehanna Chamber of Commerce on Thursday at the Front Street Station that Marcellus Shale could create 8,000 jobs. To date, roughly 400 blue-collar jobs have been created and 30 new businesses started, said Burke, who added that she expects the creation of 8,000 full-time jobs in the next five years. … One drilling site alone requires 410 employees, she added. Landowners also have the potential to make money by leasing land for drilling, she said. Burke recommended that anyone planning to lease land get an attorney who is familiar with leasing and also seek the assistance of a tax expert. … “The hospitality industry will see a lot of growth,” Burke said. “There are few industries that won’t have opportunities.” When Burke was asked if this meant all-around growth for the area, she replied, “Absolutely.”
Despite this huge uptick in American energy production, and its associated economic and energy security benefits, some in Washington are working to halt this progress. A bill authored by Reps. Diana DeGette (D-CO) and Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) and Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) – called the FRAC Act – would undermine the strong current state regulatory frameworks that has led to nearly 60 years of safe hydraulic fracturing and domestic energy production.
Thankfully, as facts continue to surface that far outweighs the hyperbole trafficked in by opponents of the technology, the effort to leverage its use into jobs, revenue and security for Americans continues in earnest.