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Frack Baby Frack
Have You Thanked Shale Today?

The shale boom is barely a decade old and it already accounts for half of American natural gas production, but according to the EIA’s newest Annual Energy Outlook, by 2040 fracking will be producing nearly 70 percent of our country’s gas. The EIA reports:

The growth in total U.S. dry natural gas production projected in the Annual Energy Outlook 2016 (AEO2016) Reference case results mostly from increased development of shale gas and tight oil plays. Natural gas resources in tight sandstone and carbonate formations (often referred to as tight gas) also contribute to the growth to a lesser extent, while production from other sources of natural gas such as offshore, Alaska, and coalbed methane remains relatively steady or declines. […]

As a result of growth in production, domestic production is soon expected to surpass domestic consumption of natural gas, and by 2018 the United States becomes a net exporter of natural gas for the first time since the 1950s. By 2040, net exports of natural gas reach 7.5 Tcf, which is 18% of total U.S. production.

Did you catch that? We’re just two years away from becoming a net exporter of natural gas—a remarkable feat when you consider that we spent most of the last decade beefing up our liquified natural gas (LNG) import infrastructure in a quest to secure alternative methods of gas supply in the coming years. Now, those import terminals are looking like a busted bet, and we’re instead constructing export facilities to start liquifying and shipping our glut of shale gas to customers abroad. And, no surprise, it’s shale gas that’s changing the game:

Source: EIA

Source: EIA

That’s a striking visualization of one of the quickest transformations of energy fortunes we’ve seen in decades, and it comes courtesy of the ongoing innovations of an upstart industry that continues to find new ways to make new plays profitable. The shale boom has already done so much, but as you can see, it’s not close to being done yet.

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  • JohnThackr

    Fracking and shale gas, more than anything else, is what is hurting coal. I think that it’s the correct trade, but it’s also why there is no coal comeback in sight, despite what desperate people want Trump and others to tell them.

    • immanuelgoldstein

      Sell the coal to the Chinese. They’ll buy it.

    • alboalt

      Even in PA, where we sit on mountains of coal, power plants are going for shale gas.

  • pca2002

    Sorry to rain on your parade, but Hilary, with $130 million in Saudi cash falling out of her pockets, has promised to end fracking so her benefactors in Saudi Arabia and Iran can get back into the terrorism finance biz …
    Cheap oil hurts our enemies so Hilary has pledged to do everything possible to reverse the trend.

    • immanuelgoldstein

      Perhaps Donald Trump will notice this and point it out to the people in loud commercials on TV this fall.

    • alboalt

      Cheap oil and shale gas hurts environmentalists because it delays the massively expensive renewable energy utopia they want for the world.

    • CaliforniaStark

      Actually Clinton has been equivocated on fracking, and has not come out in support of a total ban, although in New York Clinton said that she would support local bans. Her campaign fact sheet about fracking states: “natural gas can play an important role in the transition to a clean energy economy, creating good paying jobs and careers, lowering energy costs for American families and businesses, and reducing air pollution that disproportionately impacts low income communities and communities of color.”

      The Sanders campaign made a big issue in California of the claim he opposed fracking, and Hillary supported it. Clinton won the state decisively. In the Pennsylvania Democratic senate primary, the candidate who opposed fracking lost. Opposition to fracking does not appear a very potent campaign issue. With Trump’s recent ode to coal, could see natural gas and oil interests donating to the Clinton campaign.

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