(3BL/Justmeans Media) - The explosion of domestically produced oil and gas through fracking has produced tremors both in the ground surrounding a number of wells as well as in the economy. Suddenly, the whole energy picture has been turned on its head. Instead of an energy importer, weâve became an energy exporter.
Oil and gas production are both up by double-digits compared to a decade ago. Fears of running out of oil have been replaced by fears of a production glut. We may soon have more oil than we need. This will do little to encourage developers to slow down, despite the numerous concerns that have been raised about the safety and environmental impact of this form of resource extraction, not to mention climate change.
Instead development is going full speed ahead for a number of reasons, including:
- Replacement of natural gas for coal as a carbon reduction strategy
- Post-Fukushima move away from nuclear
- Geopolitical shift to raise America as an energy power relative to OPEC and Russia
- Dreams of a lucrative LNG export market
- Resurgence of American manufacturing based on low cost energy.
- A return to the belief that we will never run out of oil
A recent post by Resilience.org questions the extent to which these claims are based in reality and how much is simply wishful thinking. IS this really the beginning of a new petroleum era, or is a desperate last gasp by the oil industry, an attempt to retain their pre-eminent position in the world economy?
Notice that there is no mention here of climate change. The idea that gas is cleaner than coalâwhich is trueâseems to be enough to satisfy many people that we are doing something despite the fact that, while helpful, it is far from sufficient to reverse the rising levels of atmospheric carbon.
Despite the chronically over-optimistic forecast of the DOEâs Energy Information Administration (EIA), the folks at Post Carbon Institute (PCI) decided to take a look at the data themselves to see if they came to the same conclusion. This, after the EIA, in 2011, responding to United States Geological Survey (USGS) numbers, cut its estimate of recoverable shale gas in theÂ Marcellus field by 80%Â andÂ Poland by 99%.
That was followed by another downward revision by EIA, of the amount of recoverable tight oil in Californiaâs Monterey Formation, by 96%.
Itâs worth asking the question, are we being played?