The current shale revolution at its current rate can turn the US into an energy superpower, according to Karen Moreau, executive director of the American Petroleum Institutes New York State Petroleum Council. Shale is leading the way in that front with increased horizontal oil drilling and natural gas production in several regions across the country.

Exports of natural gas from shale can greatly strengthen the US economy by the sale of liquefied natural gas, or LNG, to European and Asian markets where the price for such a product is 15 times higher than in the US. Despite the benefit to the US economy, anti oil drilling and gas extracting groups, along with politicians, are vowing to stop at nothing to block this production and sale claiming the benefits would be only to the oil and gas companies.

 

North American Shale Map

North American Shale Map

America has enough of the clean burning fuel to last over 100 years at current consumption rates as well as huge potentials for horizontal oil drilling. That supply is actually much greater due to untapped shale deposits in places like Pennsylvania and California. Seneca Resources Corporation, an exploration and production subsidiary of National Fuels Gas Co. has announced recent completion of six new Marcellus Shale wells located in Lycoming County Pa.  The wells were producing at an average rate of 17.8 million cubic feet per day. They are among 15 that are now feeding the company’s Trout Run Gathering System which flows to the Transcontinental Pipeline Company LLC.

The process of extracting natural gas from the huge reserves of Marcellus shale located throughout the Midwest and Northeast is called hydrofracking which is derived from the term hydraulic fracturing. The process which involves the injection of water and chemicals deep into the shale to extract natural gas has come under much scrutiny by environmental groups due to concerns of its effect on water quality. The State of New York has suspended the issuing of hydrofracking permits until studies are completed.

The future of America’s energy from natural gas extraction from shale is far from guaranteed. Oil & Gas Journal reports that oil & gas drilling in the US and Canada will slow down in pace in 2013. It is fact that the potential of natural gas produced from deposits of shale like the Utica in Ohio and the Marcellus in New York, Pennsylvania and West Virginia, if utilized to the fullest, could drastically change our status to energy independent. However, the demand for natural gas has not yet kept up with the supply, which is reflected by the current low prices.  Exporting the LNG to other countries would push up the price a few percentage points, but that would greatly benefit the industry and the US economy.