Can You Hear Me Now?

By: Peter M. Duncan

What a fantastic piece of (unsurprising) news in Fuelfix last week! The unstable at best relationship the U.S. has had with Iran may soon be a lot less nerve wracking. The Baker Institute for Public Policy, from Houston’s very own Rice University, reported that the recent increase of natural gas we’ve acquired via drilling in shale formations will dramatically decrease our dependency on imports, for 20 to 30 years at least.

The study, “Shale Gas and U.S. National Security,” also reported that our lack of demand will thus free the liquefied natural gas (LNG) for Europe, who has historically relied on Russia for import.

The U.S. Department of Energy, funded the study and further predicts that Russia’s hold on the natural-gas market in Western Europe will decrease dramatically to as little as 13 percent by 2040. In 2009, it was 27 percent.

The study challenges the notion that the U.S. natural gas shale is a short-lived phenomenon. It concludes domestic production will more than quadruple by 2040, from 2010 levels, and account for more than half of all U.S. gas production by the 2030s.

“The idea that shale gas is a flash-in-the-pan is simply incorrect,” writes Kenneth Medlock III, another Baker Institute fellow and study co-author. “The geologic data on the shale resource is hard science and the innovations that have occurred in the field to make this resource accessible are nothing short of game changing.”

Bravo for science, innovation and the boon to the American economy that this news brings. We’re ready!