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By Lloyd McGraw on Mar 11, 2010 with no responses

Report: Americans Are Overflowing with Gas

Daniel Yergin considers fracking natural gas from shale rock as the most effective means for reducing Americas dependence on oil.

With the advent of gas shales, North America is blessed with three times as much potential natural gas supply as they were in 2007, according to a study released Wednesday by IHS-Cambridge Research associates.

But the question remains whether America is willing to tap its potential.

“This is simply the most significant energy innovation so far this century,” said Daniel Yergin, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning book The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money & Power and chairman of IHS-Cambridge Energy Research Associates.

The trick is to convince the public that recently discovered surpluses of natural gas should be relied upon to offset dependence on oil.

The innovation is somewhat hollow unless gas producers can convince Washington and the American public to embrace “fracking for gas”.  Despite recognition that natural gas burns more cleanly than oil, leftward leaning partisans have concerns about possible groundwater contamination resulting from extracting fuel from gas shales.  Accordingly, they would prefer to advance wind and solar energy as the wave of the future.

Natural gas advocates consider talk of renewable energy on a national scale as complete hot air.  “In dealing with climate change, I’m constantly surprised by the tendency to focus on the most complex and expensive measures,” said Helge Lund, CEO of Norway’s Statoil. Lund added that natural gas is abundant, affordable and relatively clean compared to the fossil fuels predominating the market today.

The ramification of America’s capability of using shale to provide its own natural gas has had a significant impact on the international economy.  Russian gas titan Gazprom has stalled in developing its Arctic shipping lines due in large part to growing concerns that the U.S. demand for international natural gas may be a lot lower in the forthcoming years than was expected as recently as three years ago.

In 2000 only 1% of America’s natural gas was harnessed from shale rock.  Today it’s 20% and by 2035 it could be 50% according to the new IHS CERA report, titled “Fueling North America’s Energy Future: The Unconventional Natural Gas Revolution and the Carbon Agenda.”