Location: Pantego, Texas, United States

Friday, March 05, 2010

The United States government has predicted that, with the advent of hydraulic fracturing to extract natural gas from shale, the US has 2000 trillion cubic feet of natural gas reserves. At the current use rate of about 20 trillion cubic feet that is a one hundred year supply. I have previously predicted that at a price of $12/mcf, the reserves would be 4000 trillion cubic feet. Yesterday I saw T. Boone Pickens interviewed on TV. He predicted that NG reserves in the US are 8300 trillion cubic feet. Unless a lot more demand for NG develops, prices will stay in the range of $3 to $4/mcf for the foreseeable future. Democrats and other politicians keep talking about eliminating dependence on foreign oil, but there focus is on “green” power, such as windmills and solar cells that produce electricity. These things do little to reduce demand for oil, which is primarily used as fuel for transportation. Pickens points out that NG could be used for transportation fuel, particularly for large vehicles like 18-wheelers and buses, and is currently much cheaper than oil. The energy content of 1000 cubic feet of NG is about the same as 7 gallons of diesel fuel and costs about $5/mcf as compared to about $3/gallon for diesel. If Obama can push the price of gasoline to $7/gal as has been discussed, then NG will be economically attractive as a transportation fuel. Of course, Obama doesn’t like NG, and would like to have EPA ban hydraulic fracturing, the elimination of which would cut the US NG reserves to a few hundred trillion cubic feet.


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