In Obama’s Second Term, Shale Gas Production Not Likely to Slow Down

Now that the election numbers are in, it’s time to take a brief look at a key element of both the Romney and Obama energy platforms: increased domestic natural gas production.  It is generally expected that the Obama administration will continue to push for more oversight and regulation of shale fracking.  The April 2012 EPA decision to reduce air emissions from fracking could well be followed by an effort to end exemptions from certain elements of the Safe Drinking Water Act.  In the case of the EPA air emissions oversight, the rules were relaxed somewhat, and industry was given two years to bring activities into compliance.  In the case of water regulation, the conversation may well continue to drag along slowly for some time to come.  In the end, there is only so much regulation that is likely to occur at the national level.  The 2005 Energy Policy Act essentially gave most regulatory responsibility to individual states, and it will probably remain there.

Regardless of the final regulatory outcome, gas production is likely to soar, especially as gas use grows in transportation, industry, and electric generation.  And don’t forget the significant potential for LNG exports, as numerous license requests have already been tendered.   The Marcellus area, and Pennsylvania in particular, should continue to see rapid growth.  A new study from ASDReports announced today suggests that production could increase more than seven-fold from 2011 levels, from  just over 1,000 billion cubic feet equivalent (bcfe) in 2011 to almost 5,000 bcfe in 2015, before finally leveling off at over 7,600 bcfe in 2020.

Read more at Forbes. By Peter Kelly-Detwiler.


  1. What a lot of people don’t know is that mentohal can be made fro natural gas.Is there anyone who does not know this, really? Short of changing one element to another, you cna make nearly any hydrocarbon from any other hydrocarbon. It is just a Question of Cost. A lot of natural gas is used to make fertilizer, among many other things.Yep, you can liquify natural gas, but you have to supercool it to do it. as Vange points out, it takes a lot of energy to do this, which means you use a lot of NG to make CNG, which raises the price.Methanol is CH3OH and Ethanol is C2H5OH and Butanol is C3H7OH. Same as Methane is CH4, Ethane is C2H6 and Butane is C3H8. When you burn them you convert the carbon to CO2 and the Hydrogen to H20. In either case, the longer the chain the more energy released.The lighter the molecule the higher the vapor pressure and the easier it is to create an explosive mixture with air. Methanol explodes easily and has an almost colorless flam when it burns, hence it is very dangerous as a fuel, which is one reason Indy cars no longer run on it.As far as I can tell, Vange is 100% correct in his critique. We can do damn near anything, the trick is to make it pay. But anything we do has cost trade offs, and sometimes those trade offs are in things that are not priced or not properly priced. Until we get a whole lot better at agreeing on what people own and how they should be valued, we are going to make a lot of suboptimal decisions.It is hard to figure why one producer is flaring gas becasue it is not worth delivering, when another porducer at the other end of the continent is drilling holes to get the stuff.

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