Thursday, December 9, 2010

UN Report: US Can Quickly Become a Vast Energy Power and Exporter of Cheap Energy

by Ed Lasky

For the past year or so I have been writing about the vast wealth America has beneath our feet in the form of shale gas. We have huge amounts trapped in shale rock that can be liberated by blasting it open via a process called hydraulic fractioning ("fracking"). Wells are drilled horizontally miles underground and then a stream of water, sand, and a minor amount of chemicals fracture the rock and release the gas. All this happens far below the surface and the water tables. Natural gas is relatively clean-burning, is on-shore, and is ours.

Now comes a report from the UN (of all places) that asserts America can be on the verge of energy independence and can become one of the world's great exporters of energy because of our shale gas and oil reserves. Natural gas is the one commodity that has been plummeting in price and delivering an economic jolt of its own for consumers more accustomed to higher energy prices.

From the Washington Examiner that picked up a report from Canada's Globe and Mail :

Toronto's Globe & Mail quotes a UN report that includes this observation: "Within a decade or so, North America will almost certainly emerge as the world's biggest supplier - and exporter - of reasonably cheap energy."

How can that be? As The New York Times reported last month, it's because the U.S. is incredibly rich with natural gas and oil shale deposits that can be reached affordably using hydraulic fracturing, the injection of liquids into rock formations thousands of feet below the drinking water table.

The injections force the gas or oil into recoverable areas, thus opening up millions of new barrels of oil and trillions of feet of natural gas for production here in America.

These new resources are having a profound impact on the U.S. energy situation and it's happening right now, not off in some projected future, as is the case with the arrival of alternative energy resources like solar, wind, and biomass.

Intrigued? Here's more detail from the Globe & Mail:

"With rising production from shale fields, the U.S. surpassed Russia last year to become the world's largest supplier of natural gas.

"Shale now accounts for 10 per cent of the country's natural gas production - up from 2 per cent in 1990. Chesapeake's production from its next Texas project, expected by the end of 2012, will by itself supply the energy equivalent of 500,000 barrels of oil a day.

"For new oil, the U.S. has the huge Green River play that overlaps Colorado and Utah, one of the largest shale oil fields in the world. The EIA reports that the country's proven reserves of crude rose last year by 9 per cent to 22.3 billion barrels.

"For natural gas, the U.S. has the four largest fields in the world: the Haynesville field in Louisiana (with production up by 77 per cent in 2009); the Fayetteville field in Arkansas and the Marcellus field in Pennsylvania (both with production up by 50 per cent); and the Barnett field in Texas and Oklahoma (with production up by double-digit increases).

"The EIA reports that proven U.S. reserves of natural gas increased last year by 11 per cent to 284 trillion cubic feet - the highest level since 1971."

It is all there for the taking. But Democrats threaten to plug all those holes warming our homes and saving us money. Meanwhile, oil prices are going through the roof -- helped along by the Obama administration's efforts to stop oil drilling off-shore, take land out of commission for exploring, and impose new rules and regulations.

Not only do they overtly and covertly favor green schemes that try to kill carbon in all forms, they have tried to enact one roadblock after another to stop us from tapping our shale gas and oil reserves (see, for example, my columns "Cheap Natural Gas and Its Democratic Enemies," a follow-up to my previous column Cheap Natural Gas and Its Enemies).

Who would benefit from stopping this energy revolution in its tracks? George Soros, environmentalists, green schemers that need government help (subsidies, investments, mandates) to make their ventures fly -- and who reward Democrats with donations, Russia, Hugo Chavez, Arab oil powers, terrorists, and other assorted international bad actors. The Russian government recently expressed concern regarding their international power because America was developing our shale gas resources.

Those are the groups Democrats help when they curtail our own development of this treasure beneath our feet. Nice company to keep, huh?

Ed Lasky

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

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