Energy Crisis Postponed: New Gas To The Rescue; U.S. May Return to Near Energy Self-Sufficiency?
Engineers have performed their magic once again. The world is not going to run short of energy as soon as feared. Tony Hayward, BP's chief executive, said proven natural gas reserves around the world have risen to 1.2 trillion barrels of oil equivalent, enough for 60 years' supply – and rising fast.
"There has been a revolution in the gas fields of North America. Reserve estimates are rising sharply as technology unlocks unconventional resources," he said. This is almost unknown to the public.
As for the U.S., we may soon be looking at an era when gas, wind and solar power, combined with a smarter grid and a switch to electric cars returns the country to near energy self-sufficiency.
~Ambrose Evans-Pritchard in the U.K. Telegraph
MP: The chart above shows monthly U.S. natural gas imports back to January 1985 and through July 2009 (EIA data here). Imports in May of this year (258,033 MMcfs) were at a level last seen almost 11 years ago, in November 1998 (see bottom red line in graph). On a 12-month moving average basis (to smooth out the monthly variations), natural gas imports have fallen this summer to the same level as January 2001, almost nine year ago (see top red line in graph).
HT: R. Adams
Update: See related NY Times article "New Way to Tap Gas May Expand Global Supplies":
Gas analysts have made a wide array of estimates for how much shale gas could be tapped globally. Even the most conservative estimates are enormous, projecting at least a 20% increase in the world’s known reserves of natural gas.
One recent study by IHS Cambridge Energy Research Associates, a consulting group, calculated that the recoverable shale gas outside of North America could turn out to be equivalent to 211 years’ worth of natural gas consumption in the United States at the present level of demand, and maybe as much as 690 years. The low figure would represent a 50% increase in the world’s known gas reserves, and the high figure, a 160% increase.
The projections suggest that the new method of producing gas “is the biggest energy innovation of the decade,” said Daniel Yergin, chairman of the Cambridge consulting group. “And the amazing thing is there was no grand opening ceremony for it. It just snuck up.”
HT: Colin, who wrote in a comment on this post:
It's further evidence of the genius of the free market and should warrant increased skepticism of centrally planned efforts to move the US to alternative energy sources. Guided by the price mechanism, it is the market, not politicians, that should be charting our future direction in energy.