Monday, April 7, 2008

Found: natural gas deposits, lots of

Today's NYT has an article on a potential "gold rush" of natural gas reserves recently discovered in the Pennsylvania region and large parts of the eastern/northeastern US. Estimates of course vary how much natural gas lies below, with the most optimistic at upwards of 50 trillion cubic feet, or twice the total amount of gas consumed last year in the US. That sounded like a lot at first -- and welcome news considering Canada is about to cut us off -- but what happens after those reserves are depleted in (at best) 2 years?

As the article points out, the best case scenario is that these newly discovered deposits will keep natural gas prices in check temporarily, which is hardly a cause for celebration.

More than anything, this article harked back to last week's Smil reading about exaggerated/apocalyptic reports on peak fossil fuels. I wasn't completely put at ease by the reading, but fossil fuel discoveries like the one in Pennsylvania provide some assurance we can stay afloat until renewable energy technologies catch up. As a recent guest speaker said, the combustion engine has had a century to evolve; clean fuel technology has only been around for a fraction of that time.

But I'm probably not telling you anything you didn't already know, Dave H.

1 comment:

John Losinger said...


You might also be interested in a recent "Popular Mechanics" article:

This article etimates a possible 516 Trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

Note that the data was "compiled by geoscientists at the University of Texas." I trust these estimates much more than anything those yankees at the NYT can come up with!