A paper, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy from the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy at Rice University, “SHALE GAS AND U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY”:

The Baker Institute study “Shale Gas and U.S. National Security,” sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy, investigates the role that U.S. shale gas will play in global energy markets as global primary energy use shifts increasingly to natural gas. Specifically, the study concludes that shale gas will diminish the petro-power of major natural gas producers in the Middle East, Russia and Venezuela, and it will be a major factor limiting global dependence on natural gas supplies from the same unstable regions that are currently uncertain sources of the global supply of oil. In addition, the timely development of U.S. shale gas resources will limit the need for the United States to import liquefied natural gas for at least two decades, thereby reducing negative energy-related stress on the U.S. trade deficit and economy.

You can read the source document by downloading it from here.

Here’s an interesting section that points out how global energy markets work:

Not only is shale gas important for U.S. national security, it’s providing a benefit to Europe and Asia.

Damn right it will “have significant geopolitical ramifications.”

And we have a lot of it, as set out here:

The U.S. Has Abundant Shale Gas Resources

Of the natural gas consumed in the United States in 2009, 87% was produced domestically; thus, the supply of natural gas is not as dependent on foreign producers as is the supply of crude oil, and the delivery system is less subject to interruption. The availability of large quantities of shale gas will further allow the United States to consume a predominantly domestic supply of gas.

According to the EIA Annual Energy Outlook 2011, the United States possesses 2,552 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of potential natural gas resources. Natural gas from shale resources, considered uneconomical just a few years ago, accounts for 827 Tcf of this resource estimate, more than double the estimate published last year.

Enough for 110 Years of Use

At the 2009 rate of U.S. consumption (about 22.8 Tcf per year), 2,552 Tcf of natural gas is enough to supply approximately 110 years of use. Shale gas resource and production estimates increased significantly between the 2010 and 2011 Outlook reports and are likely to increase further in the future.

U.S. Energy Information Agency ;study, “Review of Emerging Resources: U.S. Shale Gas and Shale Oil Plays”:

Although the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) National Energy Modeling System (NEMS) and energy projections began representing shale gas resource development and production in the mid-1990s, only in the past 5 years has shale gas been recognized as a “game changer” for the U.S. natural gas market. The proliferation of activity into new shale plays has increased dry shale gas production in the United States from 1.0 trillion cubic feet in 2006 to 4.8 trillion cubic feet, or 23 percent of total U.S. dry natural gas production, in 2010. Wet shale gas reserves increased to about 60.64 trillion cubic feet by year-end 2009, when they comprised about 21 percent of overall U.S. natural gas reserves, now at the highest level since 1971. Oil production from shale plays, notably the Bakken Shale in North Dakota and Montana, has also grown rapidly in recent years.

You can thank the engineers who developed the technology and techniques to make this possible.

Posted by Mark Tempest in Homeland Security, Policy
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  • Matt Yankee

    Great post. I believe the Eagle Ford shale in South Texas when combined with the North Dakota shale represent Kuwait in the amount of oil production potential (possibly 20% of our total consumption). Thereby redifining our reliance on Middle Eastern oil. Texas is very fortunate to have this Eagle-Ford find in this so called Great Recession. So many land owners busting their butts for generations making precious little and now these people are being paid up to 13,000 bucks an acre for just the leasing rights.


  • Phil

    Before people get too excited, the extraction of shale gas comes at an extremely high cost, particularly to acquifers and air quality. Exploration and extraction activities have poisoned quite a few people and rendered water sources useless. Simply search for studies on the effects of fracking.

    But what the hell…we’ve poisoned people for national security reasons before. (Camp Lejuene being the latest example.)

  • Matt Yankee

    The depth of these wells is 13,000 ft. plus on average. Your average water well in this area is more like 500 ft. or less. AND these local ranchers know full well how to manage their land and their ground water without high minded environmental extremists interfering in the ONLY economic boom going on in the ENTIRE country at this time. Just be glad the money is staying in this country instead of going to the ME.

    Thank God for oil money! If you want to live like an Indian do it. Don’t make everyone else suffer your insanity.

  • Let’s not dive headfirst into a pool before we know how shallow it is.

    No question, methane produced by fracking is leaking into aquifers and wells. It’s also leaking into the atmosphere and adding to the already steep trajectory of the rising GHG load.

    There are grave concerns here. Those that have looked closely at the numbers on this worry that we are risking an acceleration of global warming. Over a 20-year time frame methane has 72 times the heat trapping potency as carbon dioxide (IPCC TAR 2007).

    How much methane is pouring into the atmosphere right now from fracking? A Cornell University study says 3.6% to 7.9% of the methane from shale-gas production escapes to the atmosphere in venting and leaks. It further says that compared to coal, the footprint of shale gas is at least 20% greater and perhaps more than twice as great on the 20-year horizon.

    How much methane will be released into the atmosphere with full-throttle fracking of shale gas formations? Model that one. How will that impact IPCC forecasts, timelines and margins of safety for mitigation and adaptation? The margin of safety is already razor thin.

    Risks are rising and investors should be made aware of them.

    Let’s all take a deep breath here before.

  • My guess there is more methane leaking from cows than from the wells in question.

    “Cows emit a massive amount of methane through belching, with a lesser amount through flatulence. Statistics vary regarding how much methane the average dairy cow expels. Some experts say 100 liters to 200 liters a day (or about 26 gallons to about 53 gallons), while others say it’s up to 500 liters (about 132 gallons) a day. In any case, that’s a lot of methane, an amount comparable to the pollution produced by a car in a day.”

    Life is full of trade offs. What should we do? Ban the cows? Equip our ships with sails? Ride wooden bicycles so that we don’t burn things to make iron or steel to make metal bikes? Ban electric cars because the electricity needed to power them has to come from some fossil fuel or nuclear power – unless you have a windmill on your house charging the batteries?

    Do you walk to work? If you don’t the energy to propel your vehicle came from some place. In fact even if you walk, the energy you burn was probably not grown in your backyard.

    Natural gas, when burned, releases far fewer pollutants than coal (main source of U.S. electricity) and less than, say, diesel or that food inflation causing ethanol. There is no long term issue of what to do with radioactive remnants.

    The leakage from wells is an engineering issue which can be solved. Is it better to have such wells producing energy in the U.S. when we can regulate them or get our energy from foreign sources where the energy may be “conflict oil” or produced by and enriching people who don’t like us very much.

    Which also points out the issue of how much pollution is cause by the system we have to defend the lines of commerce that bring that oil and gas to our shores . . .

    If you have the numbers and they indicate that producing this gas is a net pollution increase compared to what we are doing now, then bring them out.

  • UltimaRatioReg


    One has to wonder what folks like the above want to use. I see it here all the time (VT). No nukes. No coal. No oil. No natural gas. No hydro (fish migration risks). No wind (birds in danger!). So….. solar? 200 days of cloud cover a year. The sun comes out when it’s warm. You know, when we need the energy the least.

    These people seem to long for the good old days, when we squatted in caves and fashioned crude tools from flint, and lived to age 27.

    We sit on top of the second largest oil reserve in the world, and perhaps the largest NG reserve. And we import most of our energy.

  • Grandpa Bluewater

    Ahem…NASA just proved the “greenhouse effect” on which global warming is predicated is, mmm, much less than previously discussed, as in negligible.

    Can you please just drop the nonsense, now?

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