Sunday, August 24, 2008

Drilling Boom Revives Hopes for Natural Gas

Good news on the energy front - very good news. Natural gas is the clean fossil fuel we want. Drilling Boom Revives Hopes for Natural Gas -
American natural gas production is rising at a clip not seen in half a century, pushing down prices of the fuel and reversing conventional wisdom that domestic gas fields were in irreversible decline. The new drilling boom uses advanced technology to release gas trapped in huge shale beds found throughout North America — gas long believed to be out of reach. Natural gas is the cleanest fossil fuel, releasing less of the emissions that cause global warming than coal or oil. Rising production of natural gas has significant long-range implications for American consumers and businesses. A sustained increase in gas supplies over the next decade could slow the rise of utility bills, obviate the need to import gas and make energy-intensive industries more competitive. While the recent production increase is indisputable, not everyone is convinced the additional supplies can last for decades. “The jury is still out how big shale is going to be,” said Robert Ineson, a natural gas analyst at Cambridge Energy Research Associates, a consulting firm. Still, many people in the natural-gas industry believe a new era is at hand, and a rising chorus of Wall Street analysts and Congressional lawmakers supports that notion. Competition among companies for rights to the new gas has set off a frenzy of leasing and drilling. “It’s almost divine intervention,” said Aubrey K. McClendon, chairman and chief executive of the Chesapeake Energy Corporation, one of the nation’s largest natural gas producers. “Right at the time oil prices are skyrocketing, we’re struggling with the economy, we’re concerned about global warming, and national security threats remain intense, we wake up and we’ve got this abundance of natural gas around us.”

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