. Energy News .

Shale gas's role in U.S. debated
by Alexandra Arkin, Medill News Service
Washington (UPI) Jul 7, 2011

disclaimer: image is for illustration purposes only

A U.S. industry group is touting the benefits of natural gas, including the controversial process known as "fracking" or hydraulic fracturing.

The American Petroleum Institute outlined to reporters on Wednesday what it believes are the economic benefits of shale natural gas production.

API Chief Economist John Felmy said shale natural gas has great economic potential for the energy industry. Production quadrupled from 2006-10 and shale gas production will likely comprise more than 40 percent of U.S. gas production by 2020.

API said the most significant trend in U.S. natural gas production is the rapid rise in production from shale formations, which is due in great part to technological advances such as hydraulic fracturing.

Natural gas is gas that comes from shale formations through a process called hydraulic fracturing. The process, known as "fracking," has come under fire from environmentalists as being dangerous to underground sources of drinking water.

Fracking involves injecting chemicals and sand into shale to break apart rock and release gas. Opponents say the process allows chemicals to leak into drinking water.

A study released in May by scientists at Duke University found there were no fracking chemicals in water but there was methane gas contamination caused by drilling the wells.

"As tests continue to show across the country, there are no confirmed cases of an underground source of drinking water contaminated as a result of a hydraulic fracturing operation," Felmy said.

The U.S. Department of Energy estimated in a 2009 report that natural gas supplies about 22 percent of the nation's energy.

The New York Times recently reported that critics of natural gas argue gas companies are intentionally overstating the productivity of wells and the size of reserves, citing e-mail from energy executives, market analysts and others.

Felmy said those criticisms come from unconfirmed sources. Also, given the oversight companies are under and because companies must demonstrate the size of reserves, Felmy said he found it hard to believe they would overstate well productivity and reserve size.

Amy Mall, a policy analyst at the Natural Resources Defense Council, agreed that natural gas will be an important source of energy for the United States but said it should be part of a transition to cleaner, renewable energies. Natural gas burned in power plants is cleaner than coal, she said.

Mall said there are still environmental concerns, such as the damage to animals' habitats from construction of roads, pipelines and facilities involved in natural gas production. Another issue is the effect on air and water quality and toxic waste from production.

"It is not as clean as we think our energy portfolio could be in the long term," she said.

In September, NRDC petitioned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to regulate toxic wastes associated with the exploration, development and production of oil and gas under the hazardous waste provisions of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.

The Energy Department's report stated that at the U.S. natural gas production rates for 2007, there should be enough natural gas to supply the United States for the next 90 years.

Mall said she thinks 100 years is the best-case scenario, under the current demand and current prices, which are likely to increase. But because natural gas is a finite resource, NRDC supports it having only a transitional role in moving toward renewable fuels.

Related Links
Powering The World in the 21st Century at Energy-Daily.com

Get Our Free Newsletters Via Email
Buy Advertising Editorial Enquiries

. Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Oil slips on eurozone crisis, China rate hike
London (AFP) July 6, 2011
World oil prices slipped Wednesday amid concerns over the impact of the eurozone debt crisis and another Chinese interest rate hike on global demand for energy. New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate for delivery in August, dipped 16 cents to $96.73 a barrel. Brent North Sea crude for August shed 38 cents to $113.23. "Oil prices (are) drifting lower on the back of a combin ... read more

Group: EU carbon permits should be cut

Australia PM warns polluters' days over

Japan's NTT DoCoMo plans green-energy cellphone towers

Poor frameworks block African energy plans

Mullen flies to China as US plans naval exercise

Manila, Beijing discuss disputed islands

China, Philippines agree to calm territorial row

Optics in LEDs for lighting

Wind power numbers down in Britain

Wind farm inquiry balanced and reasonable

Power-One Inverters Chosen to Power WindTronics

Sheringham Shoal signs up For WindManager wind farm management system

Japan's Mitsui in quake-zone solar plan: report

Solis Partners Completes Rooftop Commercial Solar Installation in Bridgewater

High-Efficiency IDS Solar Inverter Technology Unveiled in North America

Race is on to site largest U.S. solar farm

Germany seals nuclear exit by 2022

Checks seen further delaying Japan atomic restarts

Japan nuclear firm hit by email scandal

Japan to 'stress test' all nuclear reactors

Virgin eyes eucalyptus for jet fuel

Termites digestive system could act as biofuel refinery

'Trash gas' powers garbage trucks

Biofuels from the sea

China to launch an experimental satellite in coming days

China to launch new communication satellite

China's second moon orbiter Chang'e-2 goes to outer space

Building harmonious outer space to achieve inclusive development

Sulfur emissions 'mask' global warming

Somalis fleeing drought face wait for aid in Kenya

Massive dust storm engulfs US city

Australia to unveil pollution tax

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily Express :: SpaceWar Express :: TerraDaily Express :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2011 - Space Media Network. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement