U.S. Natural Gas Energy > Saudi Arabia's Oil
What's getting all of the attention recently is hydraulic fracturing, a process that involves injecting a mixture of water, sand and chemicals under high pressure to break through shale formations to reach enormous deposits of natural gas several miles underground. New advances in seismic imaging are used to find the shale gas, and horizontal drilling enables companies to reach the gas and bring it to the surface.
Largely through the use of these techniques, U.S. natural gas production has increased 40% in recent years, reversing what was once thought to be an irreversible decline in domestic drilling. Altogether there could be as much as 842 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in shales around the country, which is more energy than all of Saudi Arabia's oil.
There's no economic reason to stop making use of valuable shale gas, but that's exactly what congressional critics of hydraulic fracturing are trying to do. Democrats have introduced measures in the House and Senate that would place the drilling method under federal oversight by the Environmental Protection Agency.
We need to wake up and realize that one of the keys to our nation's economic future and increasing energy independence could soon be a wasting natural resource if Congress needlessly intervenes. Natural gas has provided heat and energy for millions of American homes, has helped fuel the expansion of our nation's factories and industries, and reduced our dependence on foreign energy; restricting this valuable domestic energy resource at such a critical time would be a sure way to raise energy prices, damage our economic recovery, and derail our progress toward greater energy independence.
From my article this week in the Detroit News.