Natural Gas — How Much is Left in the USA?

Although there’s been a fracking boom for shale gas in America, many are skeptical.   We need local gas since it’s very expensive to import from overseas sources like Qatar, and we’re competing with other nations for delivery, which drives the price up even further.

But North American gas can be stranded since it is very expensive to build pipelines to — at least 1 million dollars per mile, so vast pools in Alaska are likely to remain untapped.  Gas to liquid conversion in Alaska is so energy-intensive that that’s not viable either.

And don’t forget that all of our millions of miles of energy pipelines and other infrastructure are rusting, cracking, and increasing metal fatigue.  Greg Tosi at the Nace Advocate, a group promoting awareness of corrosion control, said “Without energy infrastructure, nothing moves and America stops working. The nation’s energy supply lines are as critical as America’s highway and bridge network. Corrosion is a leading reason for the deteriorating condition of America’s critical network of electrical power, pipelines, water systems, bridges, roads, and hazardous materials facilities. It is far too expensive to rebuild all of these critical infrastructure assets. We must preserve and extend the useful life of our national infrastructure. To solve America’s infrastructure problems, corrosion must be addressed”.

Then there’s the Liebig’s Law of the Minimum affecting natural gas extraction, as Robert Magyar’s points out in his excellent July 19, 2012 article Near drought conditions impacting Marcellus shale gas drilling

Record breaking drought in the USA that is likely to grow worse is affecting our ability to extract shale gas, which consumes a huge amount of water:

“Fracking a well” according to Chesapeake Energy, requires 4.5 million gallons per well. Fracking may occur more than once on a well, so a shale gas “pad site” might have 10 horizontal fracking well veins or bores. So just one site might consume over 45 million million gallons of clean water to crack open the shale and release the natural gas trapped inside. Given how the shale gas industry hides the details of its operations, the water use per fracked well might be much higher than what’s publicly state.

Ecological price  

This is never taken into consideration by economists, because it would slow down the looting by private individuals of a resource that belongs to all of us (that’s why oil and natural gas are nationalized in 90% of the world’s countries, we’re way too stupid to do that here thanks to 1% propaganda and control of the political and economic system).  Magyar points out that everyone’s focused on polluted drinking water and ignoring the clean water used to frack, the millions of gallons of energy burned by trucks to get to and from the fracking sites, and the cost to get rid of the toxic water produced.

The costs of fracking are so much higher than the price of natural gas that this can’t keep going much longer

“A number of oil and gas industry experts estimate extraction costs as well above $4.00 per million British thermal units (MBTU) of produced shale gas in a market today only willing to pay $2.87 MBTU. Some in the industry believe extraction costs are exceeding $6.00 MBTU, more than double the price the market is paying today. Recently the CEO of Exxon Mobil, Rex Tillerson complained, “We are losing our shirt.” when talking about the cost to extract the shale gas to what the market is willing to pay for it.”

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