Thursday, February 04, 2010

Human Ingenuity and Advances in Engineering Have Turned the U.S. Into Saudi Arabia of Nat Gas

"How ironic that during the ‘drill, baby, drill’ demonstrations as gasoline prices spiked in 2007 and 2008, a silent revolution with natural gas was already underway that will make those concerns largely irrelevant.

By marrying and perfecting two processes into a technology called horizontal fracking, engineering has virtually created, from nothing, new natural gas resources, previously regarded as inaccessibly locked in useless shale deposits. Suddenly, the mammoth shale formations in Texas, Pennsylvania, Ohio, New York, North Dakota, and elsewhere have the potential to produce abundant amounts of gas for decades to come.

Human ingenuity has turned theoretical gas reserves — too costly ever to be exploited — into practical resources. And just in time. Less than a decade ago, experts were noting that conventional natural gas production had begun to plateau, despite annual increases in the number of wells drilled."

~Max Schulz writing in the
American.com

MP: The chart above shows natural gas production (data here) in the United States, which recently overtook Russia as the #1 gas producer in the world.

7 Comments:

At 2/04/2010 10:46 AM, Blogger Ben said...

It is a shame that the current administration has turned its back on the Natural Gas Industry which shows huge promise with its engineering advances and ingenuity.

 
At 2/04/2010 12:32 PM, Blogger Hey-nonny Bosh said...

Similar to recent headlines that, in direct refutation of "peak oil," we will NEVER run out!

 
At 2/04/2010 2:31 PM, Blogger Bloggin' Brewskie said...

Say, what's become of all of those LNG import terminals we were suppose to build to fill in the expected natural gas gap?

 
At 2/04/2010 2:43 PM, Blogger Bloggin' Brewskie said...

Here's an article about a recent OMSA study on the economic effects associated with U.S. flag vessels used to transport workers and supplies to offshore energy facilities (link).

The energy sector pays well and with desired expansion, there will be plenty more jobs to go around.

 
At 2/04/2010 5:20 PM, Anonymous Lyle said...

Let me add that the exploration and producing sector is facing a wave of retirements. It hired greatly 1975 to 1984 and then essentially stopped for 10-15 years when the price of oil tanked doing round after round of layoffs. Now the chickens are coming home to roost as the folks hired then reach the end of their careers, and there are no mid experience level folks to replace them. It is often called the big crew change.

 
At 2/04/2010 5:31 PM, Anonymous Craig said...

The EPA is threatening to severely regulate fracking. It's become the latest cause célèbre amongst the environmental set. The American oil and natural gas industries (not to mention us energy consumers) will be seriously hurt if it succeeds.

 
At 2/04/2010 9:34 PM, Blogger Bloggin' Brewskie said...

Lyle,

What you say is a huge concern for the industry. Currently, some oil companies are so desperate for skilled personnel that they're willing to hire math majors straight out of college, and cross-train them to become petroleum geologists.

Unfortunately, any industry related to math, science and engineering in the US is also going to face shortages in the coming years as the baby boomers retire, and there aren't enough qualified candidates to fill the gaps. This is largely because of a multi-generational disinterest in hard science and math skills; college students have opted for preferable, perhaps more enjoyable majors instead pursuing fields which require a lot of hard work, but are nevertheless critical to civilization's success.

 

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