The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Shale Gas is a "Big Deal"

Jane Van Ryan

Jane Van Ryan
Posted April 9, 2010

A "big deal." That's how Energy Secretary Steven Chu described shale gas at a conference this week, adding that "gas will be the transition fuel as we go to renewables." (NGI's Daily Gas Price Index)

Sec. Chu is just one of many observers who say that natural gas produced from U.S. shale formations could change America's energy landscape.

Daniel Yergin of IHS CERA calls it a "game changer." Philip Sharp, president of Resources for the Future, calls it a "tremendous boon" to the U.S. natural gas supply. (NGI's Daily Gas Price Index)

According to estimates, today's natural gas supplies could meet America's needs for 100 years, based on the current consumption rate.

In fact, natural gas supplies are so abundant, ConocoPhillips Chairman and CEO James J. Mulva says it's much more than a bridge fuel to the future. He says natural gas "can be part of the long-term energy solution."

In a USA Today op-ed, Mulva makes several points about natural gas and U.S. energy policy:

  • Natural gas must be considered a "leading energy source, providing heat and electricity, fueling fleet vehicles and backstopping wind and solar power."
  • The United States must acknowledge the benefits of carbon-based fuels as part of the nation's energy mix and "overcome the opposition of the hydrocarbon deniers."
  • The government should avoid actions that impose new taxes, climate laws and mandates that require "the use of renewable resources for electricity generation and discriminate against natural gas."

"All we ask is a level playing field," Mulva writes. "Then we'll place our bets on clean, abundant and affordable natural gas--nature's energy gift."