Thanks to technology, America need not fear energy dependence on foreign powers.
Innovations in extracting natural gas from shale, which the U.S. has in abundance, recently increased the world’s proven natural gas reserves by 60-years’ worth of supply, or 1.2 trillion barrels.
Telegraph: “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, despite the efforts of Nick Grealy at “No Hot Air” who has been arguing for some time that Britain’s shale reserves could replace declining North Sea output.
Rune Bjornson from Norway’s StatoilHydro said exploitable reserves are much greater than supposed just three years ago and may meet global gas needs for generations.
“The common wisdom was that unconventional gas was too difficult, too expensive and too demanding,” he said, according to Petroleum Economist. “This has changed. If we ever doubted that gas was the fuel of the future – in many ways there’s the answer.”
Far flung future dreams? Not at all. For example, US liquefied natural gas (LNG) imports from Qatar have already fallen to almost nothing. As many know, natural gas prices have also collapsed (though they partly rallied back lately). The US Department of Energy expects shale to provide the U.S. with 50% of its natural gas needs within 20 years.
Still, some believe that shale will perform below expectations, and is being over-hyped by executives eager to stimulate stock prices.
Durango Herald: Art Berman of Labyrinth Consulting Services struck out at Dea and other natural-gas optimists. His study of the Barnett shale field in Texas – the only mature shale play in the country – showed that the wells decline much faster than companies like to admit, and less than a third of the wells drilled will produce enough gas to break even.
Nevertheless, should shale proponents prevail, it will be great news for the U.S. and Europe, yet very bad news for Russia. Perhaps its time to remove them from the BRICs story. Also, while natural gas prices may remain depressed, new technology might cap the upside for investment vehicles such as United States Natural Gas (UNG).
Telegraph: If the new forecasts are accurate, Gazprom is not going to be the perennial cash cow funding Russia’s great power resurgence. Russia’s budget may be in structural deficit.
As for the US, 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.
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