Shale opens up huge possibilities
Shale opens up huge possibilities for American natural gas
By Gretchen Randall
Date: April 8, 2011
Issue: The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) released an assessment of shale gas resources around the world, including in the U.S. It found that through the use of horizontal drilling with hydraulic fracturing of shale, producers have been able to access more natural gas than ever before from shale. Shale gas now makes up almost 34% of projected U.S. natural gas reserves. The study acknowledges that the development of shale gas has been a “game changer” for U.S. natural gas markets by tripling the known reserves of natural gas in the U.S. http://www.eia.gov/analysis/studies/worldshalegas/
Our reserves of shale gas are second in the world only to those of China. In the U.S. there are several areas or “plays” already producing gas from shale including the Barnett Shale play in north Texas, Fayetteville play in Arkansas, Haynesville play in northern Louisiana and the Marcellus play in New York, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Michigan’s entire lower peninsula is projected to contain shale gas as well. Here is a map of all the shale gas formations or “plays” in the lower 48 states: http://www.eia.doe.gov/oil_gas/rpd/shale_gas.jpg
Comment: Despite President Obama’s efforts to promote wind power, the country still needs fossil fuels for the foreseeable future.
Comment: President Obama recently told a crowd to just get used to paying high gasoline prices because they are here to stay. He’s right — under this administration gasoline prices will continue to rise because he won’t allow new exploration that might bring down prices.
Comment: Another shale area containing petroleum and natural gas lies on federal land in the Green River Basin of Utah and Wyoming. Exploration begun under the Bush administration has been halted by the Obama administration.
Background and links: Shale is a fine-grained rock with many layers and fissures between the layers where both petroleum and natural gas often are found. Both horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, sometimes called fracking, are used to access the natural gas. Water and chemicals are pumped into the well to force the natural gas from the cracks in the shale rock and make it easier to extract. To learn more, go to: http://geology.com/energy/shale-gas/
Contact: Gretchen Randall