By now the new natural gas supply study recently released by the Potential Gas Committee of the Colorado School of Mines has been well reported. Technological advances have led to a dramatic increase in the nation’s natural gas resources to over 2,000 trillion cubic feet (Tcf).
Much of the increase comes from shale formations that lie underneath Texas, Arkansas and the entire Appalachian Mountain chain. And some claim that the Haynesville shale formation underneath Louisiana may be the fourth-largest natural gas field in the world!
What has been less reported, but what may be just as important in terms of long term supplies, is the very real potential for methane hydrates – natural gas trapped inside ice-like crystals.
At a hearing last Thursday in the House Energy & Minerals Subcommittee of the Natural Resources Committee, a U.S. Geological Survey research geologist stated that the USGS has conducted its first-ever resource estimate of technically recoverable (using today’s technology) natural gas from methane hydrates and has determined that amount to be 85 Tcf on the North Slope of Alaska alone.
And in a separate study, the U.S. Minerals Management Service reported last year that more than 6,700 Tcf of natural gas is trapped in hydrates in high concentrations in sand reservoirs in the Gulf of Mexico. Under normal economic conditions, we use as a nation about 25 Tcf of natural gas every year.
With so much attention being directed toward biofuels, renewable and alternative energy, let us not ignore natural gas. We have many generations worth of the clean burning fuel right here in America.
Thankfully, we have strong voices on Capitol Hill standing up for this premium, home grown energy resource. In the House, Oklahoma Representatives Dan Boren and John Sullivan are championing the use of natural gas as a transportation fuel, with strong public relations support from billionaire T. Boone Pickens.
Over in the Senate, Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu, as reported in “E&E News,” has said that “I’m using the (recess) time to try respectfully to educate members of my caucus, and maybe some Republicans, about the importance of natural gas, and the importance of domestic energy security, so we don’t lose that in this debate. It’s not just about cleaning up the environment. It’s about securing America’s economic future. And both are important.”
Right on, Senator. We need to tell anyone who will listen that choosing natural gas means being comfortable and responsible.