Sunday, May 30, 2010

Production of Natural Gas is Up and UP

The Energy Information Administration released new data yesterday showing that natural gas production in the U.S. reached an all-time historical monthly high in March of 2.313 trillion cubic feet, breaking the previous record of 2.28 trillion cubic feet set in March of last year by almost 33 billion cubic feet (see graph).  
As I have reported previously, the U.S. is now the world’s largest producer of natural gas, having surpassed Russia’s production last year to become the new “Saudi Arabia of natural gas.”  It’s all because of a breakthrough in drilling technology, involving the use of three-dimensional seismic imaging and hydraulic fracturing of shale rock, so that huge amounts of natural gas are being produced in New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, Louisiana and other states.  In 2000, shale gas accounted for only about 1% of our natural gas supply, but now about 20% of gas comes from advanced shale drilling, and has helped boost production to record high levels. 
The abundance of natural gas in the U.S. was completely unexpected as recently as seven years ago when Alan Greenspan was worried in 2003 that shortages of natural gas would  hurt the U.S. economy.  We’re in a new age of natural gas, and it’s going to be a real game-changer. 

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